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'Francis effect' being seen locally

Updated: Thursday, March 13 2014, 06:27 PM EDT

By:Crissy Clutter and NEWS9

WHEELING, W.Va.--

It’s being called the “Francis effect”— One year after Pope Francis took leadership leaders locally and internationally say they’re seeing a bigger interest in the church.
 
According to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal Poll, the new pope has gained fans among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
 
The poll says 6 in 10 Catholics agree that the pope has renewed and strengthened religious faith...commitment to the Catholic Church.
 
Paul Renowicz of Wheeling said he can relate to the new pope.
 
“I think he's sincere and he helps the poor people a lot in this country and world," he said.
 
NEWS9 sat down with Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese.
 
Bransfield also believes the pope's popularity is because people can relate.
 
“They identify with him and he can talk about poverty he can talk about the economy, marriage and the differences in beliefs, but also the Christianity that permeates the world he lives in,” said Bransfield.
 
A mass was held at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph on Thursday afternoon.
 
The bishop spoke about change and how the pope is making God's presence important in the world.
 
“He's worked very hard in evangelization-- in other words making it clear to the world where he stands on a lot of things and his openness to the people of God,” said Bransfield.
 
The poll also says more people are praying because of the pope. Francis has also been called "a breath of fresh air."
 
Down-to-earth and focused on the poor-- something the bishop says he saw first-hand on his visit to Rome.
 
“There's a human side of him that is reflected because he's coming from a human pastoral experience and people love that,” said Bransfield.

'Francis effect' being seen locally


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