Locals applaud decision to name Pope Francis person of the year



Posted on December 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 8:20 PM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

NEW ORLEANS -- It's approaching “finals week” at Archbishop Chapelle High School, and studies are the main thing on students' minds.

But here's one more thing to process: Pope Francis is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

Mary Dufresne, a junior, said it's all the buzz around school.

"Seeing the person that he is makes it no surprise at all,” she said. ”He has the personality and the way he gives to everyone."

The pope was picked among a shortlist of names that have no lack of luster. President Barack Obama, NSA leaker Eric Snowden and controversial pop star Miley Cyrus all played runner up.

He becomes the third pope to receive the title. The Archdiocese says no one else deserves it more.

“He has given our church a new face and a new heart at a very important time. He became the pope at a difficult time," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

Aymond said in his first meeting with Pope Francis he could see he had a heart to help people.

He was aptly named "the slum cardinal" for his numerous visits to the poorest areas of Agentina.

He even took the namesake of the patron saint of the poor, Francis of Assisi.

Dr. Tom Ryan of Loyola University said Pope's selection re-emphasizes a message the Catholic Church has been sending for decades.

“It affirms his message of hope and welcome. That has been his emphasis. He hasn't been saying anything new, but in a different way."

Archbishop Aymond said, “He is doing it in a way that teaches and a way that embraces people who disagree."

Time said the final selection was made by its editors, who considered suggestions from the magazine's more than Twitter followers.