New San Angelo Bishop calls Pope 'breath of fresh air'

New San Angelo Bishop calls Pope 'breath of fresh air'

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Monsignor Michael Sis has been with the Austin Diocese for years.

But now he's going west...Pope Francis just appointed him the Sixth Bishop of San Angelo.

The Pope himself just got a pretty nice recognition as well -- Time Magazine's "Person of the Year."

After Thursday's ceremony at the Austin Diocese, we asked Bishop Sis how he plans to get younger people in church -- which seems to be a problem.

After all, the Pope is on Twitter! Sis says he'll do anything he can -- including social media.

"But I think a major part of engaging young people in the life of the church is not necessarily finding a way to reach the young people, it's convincing the older people to make room for them...that's the toughest part," Sis said.

Bishop Sis was happy when Francis was elected and he's glad the magazine gave him such a high honor.

"I feel challenged by him. We all should be challenged by him. And I think it's a real blessing, it's a breath of fresh air," Sis said.

Speaking of young people, Anna-Maria Clardy is a Catholic UT student -- and yes, she follows Pope Francis on Twitter.

"Yes I do, actually I follow the English, the Latin and the Spanish version," she said.

Francis has made a lot of waves with his humble customs -- including washing feet, embracing people in crowds, warning of greed while helping the poor, and even speaking on homosexuality -- saying "Who am I to judge?"

"Right, 'Who am I to judge?' And that's basically what the Bible's all about, right? I mean, that's what we base our whole church on, being Christian, loving everybody and that's what it should be," Clardy said.

According to Pew Research, the Pope is favored by 79% of Catholics and 58% of the general public.

The data doesn't seem to show a resurgence of Catholicism here in the states thanks to the new Pope, but Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese says around here, attendance is on the rise.

"Many people are just saying 'We want to come back to the church' for the people who've been away. Then there's a group of people who are saying 'I'm going to look at the church because I want to know what's motivating it, what's it about?'" Vasquez said.

Bishop Vasquez is surprised by Time's decision to honor Pope Francis but he couldn't be happier.

"What he does with embracing little babies and embracing people who are sick and disabled...who are sick and poor. All of that just brings people in and makes us look at this and say 'There's something special about this man,'" Vasquez said.

Another big problem the church has is getting young men to join the priesthood.

Bishop Vasquez says that too is going well. Last year he ordained 5 priests and 40 men are currently studying to be priests.

Bishop Vasquez says he does not tweet, but the Diocese does.

They've got about 3200 followers and their handle is @austindiocese.

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