Latinos in Western Pennsylvania thrilled by pope
Third-year St. Vincent College seminarian Marcel Alverenge viewed Wednesday's selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope as another one of God's surprises.
“He is good at doing that,” said Alverenge, 26, of Brazil.
As Pope Francis, Bergoglio becomes the first pope from South America, thrilling people of South and Central American heritage.
“I'm extremely happy,” said Monica Aveni-Ranii, 53, of Wilkins, who moved to Western Pennsylvania from Mendoza, Argentina, 25 years ago. “I've had calls from Venezuela, tons of emails. … It makes me very proud.”
Bergoglio is the first non-European to lead the church in more than 1,000 years.
The new pope comes from a country where 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, which made for quite a culture shock for Aveni-Ranii when she arrived in the United States.
“It was a shock to come here and see all these different religions,” she said.
The Argentine connection to Western Pennsylvania is a small one, census records show.
According to the 2010 census, Pennsylvania had 4,269 people who claimed Argentine ancestry. The Pittsburgh metro area had 593 people, and the city, 244.
The choice of Bergoglio was not a complete surprise, said Kathleen DeWalt, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
Brazil and Argentina “are both strong Catholic countries with European roots,” she said.
Bergoglio “is fairly conservative, but the reality of where he grew up is quite different than Europe and the United States,” DeWalt said.
Anthony Falcon opened his Strip District restaurant Gaucho Parrilla Argentina five weeks ago. Although he is not Catholic, he was excited for Argentina, the country from which his father hails and where his siblings were born.
“It's definitely an honor for Argentina,” said the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Falcon, 39.
St. Vincent seminarian Mauricio Tabera was in English class when his professor stopped everything so the students could watch the announcement of the new pope.
And when Tabera, 28, a native of Colombia, saw the new pope hailed from Argentina, he could hardly contain his excitement.
“We are very far away from our countries, but we feel like this election is an opportunity to show how good people in Latin America are,” Tabera said.
Craig Smith is a staff writer for TribTotal Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Staff writers Jennifer Reeger and Brian Bowling contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kennywood Park opening day ends early because of disruptive crowd
- Marathon takes over streets of Pittsburgh
- Scaife bestows ‘game-changing’ legacy of giving to region, nation
- High-end housing focus alienates needy
- Fire in Wilkins high rise apartment building causes evacuation of hundreds
- Schenley Plaza rally underscores that ‘black lives matter’
- 2 charged with open lewdness for allegedly having sex on Pittsburgh-bound train
- Obstacle courses set for drivers during Pittsburgh Marathon
- McConway & Torley steel foundry under fire in trendy Lawrenceville
- Pittsburgh police make arrests in suspected Station Square prostitution ring
- West Virginia identifies faulty storage tanks as law scaled back