Local priest excited about new popePublished 11:01am Friday, March 15, 2013
The Rev. Rudy Breunig, the priest who serves St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bainbridge, shared some of his thoughts this week on Argentina’s Jorge Bergoglio, the man selected to be the new pope.
“I was impressed that he would first ask the people to pray for him, and then I was impressed by the quiet in the crowd that followed,” Breunig said. “It was an impressive moment.”
As he watched the process and pageantry on television, he said he was struck by one particular interview between the TV commentator and a priest, who made the comment that these decisions are of God, who then uses man to carry out His word.
“There is something deeper going on here,” said Fr. Breunig, who added that the conclave is spiritual — a testimony to the Lord’s spirit that 115 cardinals were lucky enough to hear what the Lord had to say. “Then they listened, heard and responded.”
“It wasn’t so much a human decision as it was the divine working through the decision process — a divine inspiration, if you will.”
Breunig said he was a bit surprised that Bergoglio chose the name “Francis” for his papal name.
“There are a lot of holy names in the Jesuit order he could have chosen; but he chose Francis from St. Francis of Assisi,” Breunig said. He also describes St. Francis as “the people’s saint,” and thinks the name symbolizes the kind of pope he wants to be.
When he looks at the man who was chosen, Breunig says he sees a man that embodies the perfect model for a pope — “Servus, Servorum Dei.” Translated from the Latin, the phrase means servant of the servants of God. He compares it with how Jesus had said he had come not to be served, but to serve.
Asked what he expects from the new pope, Breunig answered, “I expect a servant, as he learned from St. Francis. He can lead the rest of us to follow his role model.” Breunig believes the pope will live a simple life, live in a simple apartment, and cook his own meals.
Breunig served churches 14 years in Costa Rica, and approximately 50 percent of his local congregation is Hispanic. He sees the choice of a pope from “the Americas” as a breath of fresh air for those who say “we have to break out of the mold” of European popes. However, he also noted that it may prove to be a challenge to those conservative Catholics who are firmly entrenched in the old ways.
“We will wait and see what the Lord has in mind for us,” Breunig said, with a smile.