For Father Ivan R. Trujillo, today's election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, had a special meaning and brought Trujillo a special joy.
Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis I, is the first pope from South America, and though Bergoglio is from Argentina and Trujillo is from Bolivia, it is a good thing for the church that a new pope was selected from the 455 million Catholics in South America, home to 42 percent of all Roman Catholics in the world.
"I'm very happy that they elected somebody from South America because most South Americans, most Latin American people, are Catholics, I'd say 80 percent" Trujillo said. "They are very happy. I'm very happy."
Trujillo is pastor of Resurrection Parish, which includes Batavia's St. Joseph's and St. Mary's. He was ordained in Jamestown in 1990 and became an assistant at St. Mary's in 1995. Four years ago, when St. Joe's and St. Mary's merged to form Resurrection Parish, Father Ivan was appointed pastor of the parish.
It was a Jesuit, like Pope Francis, who inspired Trujillo to become a priest. In Bolivia, while studying philosophy, the rector of the school was a Jesuit. The priest had a passion, as most Jesuits do, for working with the poor.
A good deal of Father Ivan's work in Western New York is with the poor and less fortunate. He works with the poor and sick in his own perish, ministers to inmates at Attica and Wyoming correctional facilities, and works with migrant workers in Genesee, Orleans and Niagara counties.
Pope Francis -- taking the name of St. Francis Xavier -- has a reputation for humility and caring for the poor, living an austere life in Buenos Aires. For a time, Bergoglio gave up riding in a limo and instead took public transportation around the city, but had to give up the practice for security reasons.
"I believe it is a great sign that he will be a pope for the poor and everybody else," Father Ivan said. "I’m pretty sure he’ll be trying to reach the most needy people."
Trujillo believes that Francis, coming out of the Jesuit Order, will be a capable administrator as well as a spiritual leader, which is something, he said, the church needs now.
"It's a good time to celebrate," Trujillo said. "I know there are many problems with the church, but knowing about Jesuits, I'm sure he's well organized and he'll be a good asset for our universal church."
Trujillo was returning from Wyoming when church staff called him to say that a new pope had been elected. He returned to St. Joe's in time to see Pope Francis introduced to the crowd in Vatican City and a worldwide television audience.
It was an thrilling moment, he said.
"At the moment I’m a little bit shocked and so glad," Father Ivan said. "I wish the best for the pope and the whole church. One thing that impressed me with him was that he asked first to be blessed by the people in Rome and after that he blessed the people. After he was blessed by the people, he blessed them. That was a very nice symbolism that he will be a pope for the people and at the same time he brings some order that we need."