telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Reacting to the election of the new Pope, Avenya thanked God for a successful election, adding that it marked a new beginning for the Catholic Church.
”The Pope stands as the Vicar of Christ on earth and I believe that God has selected his own from a humble background.
”He is not among those we hear about all the time, I urge him to continue to pray and stand for humanity,” he said.
Avenya, who is the Deputy Secretary of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, said that the age of the new pope was nothing to worry about.
According to him, the concern of the church is not about the age, but one who can lead the people of God according to the directions of the Holy Spirit.
”He is looking healthy, what is important is about who can animate the people of God,” Avenya said.
Also speaking, Rev. Fr Christopher Bologo, of the Holy Cross Catholic Church, said that the church had done the unexpected with the emergency of Pope Francis.
”This has proved that the leader of the church can come from any part of the world. He is the first Latin American to be a Pope and this is also significant.
”Secondly, he is from a humble background, as we are made to know that he retired and had gone where he is even cooking for himself.
”And now he picks a name Francis, a saint, who devoted all his energy to helping the poor, I am very happy. I think the church is going in the right direction,” he said
A Knight of St John, Sir Ephraim Nwokennia, said that the simplicity of the new pope indicated that God called people who are humble to service.
”This is a lesson for all of us, we will continue to pray for the Pope’s strength and God’s directions all through his tenure,” he said.
Bergoglio, 76, to be Called Pope Francis took over the leadership of the Catholic Church after Pope Benedict the XIV retired on Feb. 28 on health grounds.
He is the first South American and also first Jesuit Priest to be elected a Pope in the history of the church. (NAN)