By Logan Stolpe, Extreme Alaska
About a week ago, the world’s roughly 1.2 billion Catholics got a new leader. Pope Francis is now the top man in the Vatican, half a world away from Fairbanks, Alaska.
“At our level, there have been no changes yet,” said Ronnie Rosenberg, the Adult Education Coordinator for the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Rosenberg said that this pope could be good for the Alaskan Catholic Church because of his work with the poor and marginalized. She said the pope might have some understanding of the challenges of indigenous cultures, which could be a great benefit to rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives.
Cassandra Sanborn, a biology student at UAF, describes herself as a “cradle Catholic”, meaning she’s been one since birth. “I don’t know if he’ll necessarily change a lot, but he’ll say things differently.” Sanborn said the church isn’t exactly modern, but she was excited by the election of someone who wasn’t a “typical European Pope.” She said that hopefully seeing a pope from a different nationality and background than normal will be encouraging to minority groups in the church.
“Hopefully he will come visit us, but there are no plans in the making,” said Rosenberg