Argentine president, bishops congratulate Pope Francis

Within hours of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires being elected as Pope Francis, political and religious leaders from his home country sent their prayers and warm wishes to the new Holy Father.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sent a message of congratulations via Twitter to the new Pope, saying, "As he assumes the leadership and direction of the Church, we wish him a fruitful pastoral mission in carrying out such great responsibilities in search of justice, equality, fraternity and peace for humanity."

Pope Francis was elected by the College of Cardinals on March 13, the second day of the conclave. He is the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to be elected to the papacy.

The president of the Argentine Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, also congratulated Pope Francis in a letter sent on behalf of his brother bishops.
"Dear Jorge: Our joy springs from the faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of history, for your acceptance to serve the Church as the successor of Peter. I entrust your ministry to the protection Our Lady of Lujan," Archbishop Arancedo said in the message.

He assured the new Holy Father of the bishops' "closeness and prayers."

"I think it would be appropriate that this Sunday in all Masses in our dioceses, our special intention be one of thanksgiving and prayer for the ministry that the Church has entrusted to our brother Jorge," the archbishop said.

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