First Jesuit Pope

Mar 14, 2013

The new leader of the Roman Catholic Church is the first Jesuit Pope.

The election of Pope Francis has special meaning for Father Patrick Lynch in Buffalo.

"I was really surprised when they announced he was the first Jesuit," Lynch said. 

Lynch, who is also a member of the Society of Jesus, is Chair of Religious Studies at Canisius College, one of 28 Jesuit Catholic colleges in the U.S.  He says the Jesuits were founded as an apostolic order to bring the gospel to other people. 

"We have a two-fold purpose. One is...the salvation of our soul and that of our neighbor. So the Jesuits have mainly been involved in education and missionary work bringing the gospel out to other nations, for example to Latin America and North America," said Lynch.

Pope Francis considers social outreach to be the essential business of the church. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires he often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited slums in the city.

Lynch says one of the interesting points he learned about Pope Francis is that he has also has Masters degree in chemistry. 

"Now that fits very nicely with Jesuits who have much it's clear he's not just a theologian," said Lynch.

Father Lynch says he and the other Jesuits at Canisius will be praying for the new pope and wishing him well.