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NCC President Lohre offers prayers
for newly elected Pope Francis I

New York, March 13, 2013 – The president of the National Council of Churches USA has expressed prayers and good wishes for the newly elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church.


“I know my sisters and brothers in thousands of congregations related to our 37 member communions are joining me in praying for Pope Francis and the 1.2 billion Catholic Christians he leads,” said Kathryn M. Lohre, NCC President.


She said the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, as the first non-European pontiff in more than 1,000 years, suggests winds of change in the Catholic Church.


“All of us have seen profound growth among Christians of every tradition in Latin America and throughout the southern hemisphere,” Lohre said.  “We pray all of us will be attentive and responsive to the Christian witness that is emanating from that part of the world, and we wish Pope Francis the very best as he begins his new ministry.”


The Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the NCC, but the U.S. Catholic Conference and has been active with the NCC in ecumenical ministries and programs, and Catholic prelates, priests, nuns and laypersons have served on NCC commissions and committees.



Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks,


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