Austin Diocese holds mass in honor of Pope Francis

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by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

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kvue.com

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 7:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 11:32 AM

AUSTIN -- The celebrations continue in Austin in honor of the new pope.

At noon on Thursday, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese will hold a special mass at Saint Mary Cathedral in Downtown Austin. The Bishop isn't usually at the church to give mass on weekdays, but he is coming to mark the celebration of Pope Francis.
 
Catholics have been coming and going from the Cathedral throughout the morning offering prayers of thanks. There’s a lot of excitement about what Pope Francis will bring to the church, especially among the Latino community. Pope Francis is the first Spanish-speaking pope from Latin America.
 
“A big part of the Latino community is Catholic, so I feel in a way they'll feel someone from their little home is going to be representing them and of course representing the world,” said Austin Catholic Porfirio Vasquez.
 
Pope Francis is also the first to chose the name Francis in honor of Saint Francis. To many it signifies his goals as pope.
 
“It’s very bold,” said Father Albert Laforet of Saint Mary Cathedral. “It’s kind of an amazing choice. I think [it’s] one that really foreshadows what he wants to do in the church, where his interests are with the poor, with the weak, with those who are disenfranchised.”
 
As Arch Bishop in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis lived in an apartment, took mass transit and cooked his own meals.
 
“[He's] quite a simple man and a man who understands the daily grind of life that people have and I think he brings to the office those experiences and I think people can immediately relate to him,” said Father Laforet.
 
Father Laforet is expecting a larger than usual crowd for Thursday’s special mass. He says there are on average about 100 people who attend noon mass at Saint Mary Cathedral on any given Thursday.
 
However the church is preparing for a larger crowd for the service with Bishop Vasquez.

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