Archbishop of Toronto congratulates newly elected Pope

TORONTO – One of the Canadian cardinals who helped pick the new Pope says he’s praying for the Catholic Church’s 266th leader.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, congratulated the newly elected Pope Francis I in a statement issued by the archdiocese just moments after the pontiff’s identity was revealed.

In the statement, the archdiocese says its members will pray for the Pope’s “spiritual strength, wisdom and humble example” and is confident “he will guide the Church for years to come.”

The United Church of Canada also offered its congratulations to the new Pope, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

That the 266th is from Argentina may come as a letdown for those who had hoped for a Canadian pope.

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet was considered one of the top contenders to replace the retired Pope Benedict XVI, who unexpectedly stepped down last month.

Ouellet, who is from the hamlet of La Motte, about 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal, heads the Vatican’s important bishops’ office.