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Pope Francis Celebrates One Year After Election

March 13, 2014, 6:09 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Pope Francis Celebrates One Year After Election

Besides calling on the church to serve, Pope Francis is also seen by many as energizing Catholics around the world while holding to the church's core beliefs.  We talked with Bishop Paul Swain of the Sioux Falls diocese to learn about the pope's impact here and worldwide after his first year.

With Pope Francis's first year wrapping up, members of the Catholic faith are still adjusting to a new way of leadership.

Bishop Paul Swain says the man many call the "people's pope" is a likable guy, which draws people to him.

"His warmness. How he relates to people. He's healthy and able to get around pretty easily and does. So just that sense of love for people, people pick up that warmth," Swain said.

The new energy Pope Francis shows has brought a lot of positive publicity to the church.

Swain believes this is helping bring new life to Catholicism.

"What's striking are the number of non-Catholics who say, 'Hey, I like your new Pope.' And pay attention to what he says and what he does. That's a great thing. It brings us all together and lifts us up because he's an up-beat guy," Swain said. 

The revitalization is happening on a global and local level, according to Swain. He believes the focus on helping others is encouraging the Sioux Falls community to do more work for those in need.

"One thing we're beginning to work on is the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House for the homeless and others with special needs. A new project we're just starting. And while that wasn't totally motivated by him, it certainly is his call we ought to think about these things and take advantage of the opportunities that come forward to reach out to others," Swain said. 

Something Swain says he hopes to see continue for many years to come.

"Now Pope Francis is 77 and he has a few health problems. But hopefully God will bless him with good health for a good long time," Swain said.

The Vatican is celebrating Pope Francis's anniversary by issuing special coins and stamps.

With the pope's popularity, the Vatican is bracing for huge demand. They will be available later this month.

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