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Pope Francis energizes local Catholics

Rochester, N.Y. Theres no denying Pope Francis has made waves in his first year as the head of the Catholic Church.

He has been named Person of the Year by Time Magazine and even by The Advocate, a prominent LBGT magazine.

Father Robert Kennedy of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rochester is not surprised.

I was just taken right away, Kennedy says of the installation of Pope Francis. Every place I go, literally every place, people are talking about him.

This includes his parish.

I think hes great, he seems youngers and more into people and more visible, said Laura Viau, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament.

Oh, hes done a lot for the world just getting started and its a beautiful thing. Theres been a lot of talk about homosexuality and hes put a great understanding on you cant judge people, said parishioner Frederick Williams.

Kennedy says its not that Francis has changed the churchs teachings, but says hes approaching those teachings differently by putting more focus on the individual instead of those hot-button issues.

He has taken us to a deeper level of what we are about, Kennedy said.

This shift is not popular with everyone, but already, Kennedy says, there appears to be a heightened interest in the church, especially among those who have strayed over the years.

Will people be attracted to Catholicism because of him? Kennedy asked. That remains to be seen.

Adam Chodak, 13WHAM-TV
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