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Pastor, Students at Local Church Welcome News of Pope Benedict's Election

By Mark Scott

Eggertsville, NY – As word spread in Western New York that the new Pope took the name Benedict, XVI, a local church was thrilled.

At Saint Benedict's Church in Eggertsville, Pastor Gary Bagley says it was a surprise and honor to learn that the new Pope has taken the name Benedict. He says the new pope is very familiar with the inner-workings of the Vatican.

"I just know he has been very much of a leader during the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago," Bagley said. "He has spent a lot of time and effort making sure the structure of the faith has stayed solid, as it tries to handle all the changes as a result of the Council. And that is a pretty tricky job to try and perform."

Fr. Bagley says he hopes the new pope will be able to continue Pope John Paul, II's work with youth. Wednesday morning, Pope Benedict did announce that he will be attending the World Youth Day in his native homeland of Germany this August. For the students of Saint Benedict's, it was exciting to learn that the Pope has the same name as their school. Eighth grader Nina Lush says she was pleased to learn of the new Holy Father.

"I think after the death of Pope John Paul, the new Pope will have to do a lot of work to follow in his footsteps," Lush said. "I think we have to look ahead and see what is going to happen with the future of the church."

Katie Calogero, another eighth grader, liked the Pope's new name.

"The fact that the Pope's name is Benedict and so is our school, that really makes you feel like 'wow.'"

Fr. Bagley says he believes Pope Benedict will tackle many global issues, including poverty, terrorism and the church's relationship to the non-Catholics.