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Southern Colorado Catholics asked to pray for new Pope

Special Masses help Colorado Springs honor new Pope

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Catholics in southern Colorado will be some of millions around the world offering prayers to help the new Pope Francis adjust to his new role as leader of the Catholic Church.

Bishop Michael Sheridan called for special masses to be held at each of the parishes in the Colorado Springs diocese to celebrate, honor and pray for the new pope elected Wednesday.

"I hope they share the joy I have," said Sheridan. "This is a great moment, it really is."

Sheridan said the goal is two-fold: First to offer thanks to God for providing a new leader and the second to support the new pontiff through prayer.

The first Mass held following the election of Pope Francis was at Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

"We're thankful to God we have a new leader in the church and we'll pray for him," said Cesar Quinones.

Quinones said he heard the news from his sister by phone in the middle of a busy day of work.

"He's very conservative from what I've read and that's one of the  things we need to get back -- the conservative values of the church," said Quinones. "We've always had them, we just need to reinforce them."

Sheridan is also excited by the selection of the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. The 76-year old is the first Jesuit and first pope from South America.

"He's an intellectual, he's a theologian," said Sheridan. "He's been a residential bishop. In other words, he doesn't come  from the bureaucracy."

Sheridan was educated by Jesuits. He said their emphasis is on teaching the word of God and spreading their lessons through missions.

Sheridan said he was impressed with the new pope from his first moments before the public.

"He seems to be a man of deep spirituality, certainly of humility," said Sheridan. "He seems very humble -- asking the people, before he blessed them, if they would ask him to bless him and then he made that profound bow in front of them."

On Thursday, Bishop Sheridan will lead one of the special Masses in honor of Pope Francis. It will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Colorado Springs.

The Mass will begin at noon.

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