Local Catholics React to Pope's First Year Anniversary - WBAY

Local Catholics React to Pope's First Year Anniversary

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During mass Thursday morning, parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church in Green Bay reflected on the Pope's first year as leader of the Catholic church.

"We pray for those who are suffering," said Father John Girotti during mass, echoing the message Pope Francis is sending, which makes him appear to many as more compassionate.

"He seems very down to earth and very welcoming. He's welcoming of all people and is willing to show that to the rest of us that we should also do that," said Cindy Trader, a parishioner.

The Pope shocked many Catholics over the past year when he kissed the feet of criminals, women and Muslims.

And, when questioned about the gay community he responded "Who am I to judge?"

Father Girotti says Pope Francis is simply teaching the Catholic faith -- to love all people.

"Those who are suffering because their marriage is coming to an end, those who suffering because they had an abortion or those who are struggling with any type of addiction," he said.

Pope Francis' anniversary comes as a petition started by Mayor Jim Schmitt to invite him to Green Bay is gaining momentum with more than 2,200 signatures.

"I would be delighted if the Holy Father came to Green Bay and to work with Bishop Ricken who is the Catholic bishop of our diocese and all of the priests in our area to work together to invite our Holy Father would be wonderful," said Father Girotti.

"If he can come to GB and have a mass at Lambeau Field, open the gates and let them see the pope," said parishioner Roger Skaletski.

The Freedom From Religion foundation based in Madison is protesting the invitation.

There's no word if the Vatican has responded.

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