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Tucson Bishop, parishioners share their hopes for the next Pontiff

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas meets with Pope Benedict XVI. (Courtesy: Diocese of Tucson)

Tucson Bishop, parishioners share their hopes for the next Pontiff

CREATED Feb 12, 2013

Reporter: Justin Schecker

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -  After Pope Benedict XVI announced he will become the first pope in six centuries to resign, the question on the minds of Catholics around the world is who will become the next Pontiff?       

The news of the pope's resignation came as a surprise to parishioners at St. Augustine's Cathedral Monday morning.

After morning mass, Genevieve Garcia told Nine On Your Side she hopes Pope Benedict's successor will be younger, but she's putting her faith in whomever the cardinals elect. 

"The one they choose will no doubt be up to the job because it's really the lord that's going to choose," she said.

"It will be very fascinating, but we will have a new pope by Easter," Wayne Yehling said. 

Yehling told Nine On Your Side he knows it's up to God, but he would like the next pope to focus on connecting with the church in Africa, Asia and especially Latin America.          

"I'm not going to presume the Holy Spirit, but I think it would help the church a lot if not someone who is from that area of the world, someone who has a very intimate knowledge of that area of the world," he said.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas oversees the  Diocese of Tucson that he says is nearly 50 percent Latino. In a one-on-one interview with Bishop Kicanas, Nine on Your Side asked him what it would mean for the next pope to have ties with the church's Latino population.       

 "Whoever the pope is will surely have to be comfortable in Spanish, comfortable with the Latino culture," Bishop Kicanas said. "And that's what the pope has to be, the source of unity for the universal church."

As for parishioners like Yehling, they say whoever becomes that source of unity will need to address issues of faith and religion in the 21st century.  

"I hope that the new pope is as intellectually gifted as the last one and can balance modern thinking and modern times with the teachings of the church," Yehling said.