I am very happy with the election of Pope Francis. For us as Catholics, this is a beautiful spiritual moment, a time of joy and thanksgiving. A time for prayer for the whole Church. This is a great day, not only for Catholics, but for the whole world. Because the Pope is the living sign of the universality of God’s Church. And the Pope is a sign of Jesus Christ’s love for the world and for every person in every nation. I have had the privilege of knowing our new Holy Father through our work together on the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. I look forward to seeing him and getting to know him better while I am in Rome next month.It is a beautiful sign to have a new Pope who is the first Pope from the Americas, from the New World. The election of Pope Francis is a call for all of us to strive for holiness and to work to make our countries and our continents a “new world of faith.” So today we thank God that he has given us a Pope who is a humble man who lives with simplicity and a desire for holiness. Our new Pope is a defender of the poor, a strong teacher, and a leader committed to renewal in the Church and the new evangelization of our world. I join my brothers and sisters in the Church in Los Angeles and throughout the Americas and the whole world in offering my prayers for Pope Francis and pledging my loyalty and love for him and my obedience to him. I ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for our new Pope. And I pray that we all go to Jesus, closely united to the Pope, through Mary.This statement by Archbishop José H. Gomez was issued March 13, shortly after the election of Pope Francis was announced. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0322/popegomez/{/gallery}