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A few hours after Pope Francis received his simple silver-and-gold papal ring in Rome amid millions of viewers, scores of Utah Catholics gathered at Salt Lake City's Cathedral of the Madeleine on Tuesday for a special Mass to celebrate the Argentine pontiff's installation.
Last week, Bishop John C. Wester, leader of the Beehive State's 300,000 Catholics, called the new Vicar of Christ "a great gift to the church." Members of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, 70 percent of whom are Latino, were cheered by the selection of the global faith's first pope from Latin America, the bishop said.
Having a pope who has lived his whole life in the Southern Hemisphere and speaks Spanish "will help the people here," Wester said at a Friday news conference. Francis "lived amid rampant poverty, walked the streets of Buenos Aires and reached out to people on the periphery of the church."
The Salt Lake City Mass was also part of the "Founders' Day" celebration for the diocese's Madeleine Choir School.
Peggy Fletcher Stack