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MN Man Has Papal Connection Over Hot Button Issue

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Pope Francis has wrapped up his first full day as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

He celebrated his first Mass as Holy Father in the Sistine Chapel with the Cardinals who elected him.

Earlier, the 76-year-old visited St. Mary Major Basilica. He carried flowers to the altar of the Virgin Mary and prayed in silence for 10 minutes, asking for guidance.

Afterward, Pope Francis collected his bags at the hotel where he stayed before the conclave and made a point to pay his bill.

On Thursday evening, Francis unsealed the Papal apartment so workers can begin preparing his permanent residence. The inauguration Mass for Pope Francis will be held in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday.

Locally, the Basilica of St. Mary celebrated the pope's inauguration with a special mass. And a man now living in the Twin Cities shared a personal story about how the two have discussed marriage equality.

As the pastor of a small Danish Church in Buenos Aires, Andres Albertsen has been friends with the pope since he was the city's archbishop since the 1990s.

"The man is different and very pastoral," Albertsen said. "And I think we can only expect good things from the new pope.'

Now studying at Luther Seminary, Albertsen sent an email from St. Paul when Bergoglio made harsh statements about gay marriage in 2010.

"I told him whenever you say something about gay marriage, think about that you are also issuing a judgment about me," Albertsen said.

Albertsen said Bergoglio's response was timely and heartfelt, saying, "May the lord bless you abundantly, your brother, Jorge Mario Bergoglio."

And they met later in Argentina to talk. And now that Bergoglio has become Pope Francis, he plans to write him again.

"I am sure that he will be thinking of me whenever he has to make a statement about this issue," Albertsen said.

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