The public’s reaction to Pope Francis in New York

Pope Francis is undeniably a Bishop of modern times in some respects, with Twitter hashtags, BuzzFeed quizzes, and even Snapchat stickers, all marking his arrival to the US. It seems that people are excited about what he can represent for future generations.

Take Manhattan native, Mary-Anne Kimes, 40, who attended the Pope’s visit to the 9/11 Memorial Site. “I think he is a breathe of fresh air. He is what the Catholic Church needs right now,” Kimes elatedly explains. Everyone is charged up and is listening to what he has to say.” Gale F., a dedicated Catholic, seems to agree. Gale brought her teenage son from their home in Long Island to witness the Pope’s procession to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. She believes Pope Francis is striving to “get young people back in the church.” And it is easy to see how Gale may be right, with many millennials braving the crowds all across New York in the hope of catching a glance of the man in the flesh. 25-year old Maggea Kurek, a young Catholic woman living in Brooklyn, was one of those hopefuls, waiting at the 9/11 Memorial Site. Kurek thinks that Pope Francis “is the best pope,” with his new approach being “a good way to look forward.”

Cristina Prieto, 24, waiting to spot the Pope outside St. Patricks, seems to be the embodiment of this modernized movement; her fashionable Levi jeans paired with an ‘I Love Papa Francisco’ t-shirt showing that modernity and tradition can work seamlessly together. “I feel he is the example of what a real Catholic is. The world is changing. The world is angry. In my home of Mexico City we are all angry with the government and how the world is going” she said, “I think he really inspires love and mercy and that’s the way Jesus is. I can see Jesus in him.”

Whilst walking her dog along Broadway, East Village resident, Janice Wilde, 61, explains how she is happy about the Pope’s message of “prolonged compassion”, but is not as enthused as the Pope Francis partisans. Wilde criticizes the practice of not allowing women to be priests. “We are not second-class citizens. We are just as smart and capable as men, and many times more so,” she states, “any time you put men together without women there’s mayhem.” Clearly, amongst New York’s buzz of excitement, some skeptics remain.

“I don’t look to the Pope for progressive view points. It’s still conservative, it’s still the Pope,” says Brooklyn resident Brett Burman, 32, while on a lunch break from his office near the 9/11 Memorial Site. For Burman, the most enthusiasm that can be mustered is: “Its better than it could be.”

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