National Catholic Reporter

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Pope Francis

US priests, brothers 'inspired and challenged' by Pope Francis

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The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis is a "moment of encouragement, inspiration and challenge," wrote the group that represents U.S. priests and brothers in religious orders.

In an open letter to the new pope, who is a member of the Jesuit religious order, the 17,000-member Conference of Major Superiors of Men said Thursday it is "inspired and challenged," particularly by the pope's choice of name.

Following is the letter.

Most Holy Father:

Greetings in God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

The unfailing hope of progressive Catholics

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I just came back from lunch when a co-worker scurried to my cubicle.

"White smoke," she said. "There's white smoke."

My feet had a mind of their own as I ran to the nearest television, absolutely transfixed. I remained glued to the news coverage, with the Latin names of who I thought were likely choices on a Post-it note in front of me (Georgium wasn't on the list). My pulse was racing. My stomach was in knots.

Pope Francis' first papal appearance sparked joy, hope

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No more chimney watching. We have a pope!

The chimney gained star status in this papal election. It was a quaint reminder of the traditions in our church. In the midst of instant social media, our eyes were glued to a smokestack. Chimney cams were fixed in corners of TV screens on news stations around the world. The appearance of a now-famous seagull provided some comic relief.

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