Catholics say new Pope must cast wide net - FOX 13 News

Catholics say new Pope must cast wide net

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It is a job filled with pressures that not many can understand. In the next few weeks, 115 Cardinals will choose the next leader of the Catholic Church.

Many in the Catholic faith have said whoever they pick must work to bring people back who have left the church.

And also, they must remind those who have stayed, why they have stayed.

At Christ the King Church in Tampa, Father Len Plazewski says he is always working to make sure his members understand the Catholic faith is relevant in their lives, no matter what stage they are in.

"So often, the language we speak is the language of our culture. So making that understandable, and seeing the beauty of that, whether you're in 8th grade or you're 80 years old. Whether you're married with a family or a college student, so that's the challenge there," he says.

Father Len says he does that by understanding who his congregation is.

"I need to know what's happening in their lives, what's important to them, so the gospel can be articulated in a way that's going to be understandable and relevant to them."

On the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's retirement, Catholics are eager to see who the next Pontiff will be.

Right now, the Diocese of St Petersburg, which encompasses Catholic churches in the entire Tampa Bay area, is running a commercial. It encourages people to come out to any Catholic Church on Thursday March 7th, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

The campaign slogan is "The Light Is On For You," and is being touted as a time when priests will simply be available for you to stop and make an individual confession.

The commercial ends with a voice saying, "If you've been away from the Catholic Church, the light will be on for you."

Father Len from Christ the King believes anyone who has left the church, didn't do it, because they were upset, but they simply fell out of the routine.

But he has seen changes from families over the years.

"At one time, most Catholic families wouldn't think of sending their children to any school other than the Catholic schools," he said.

But he believes financial reasons or educational ones are more the driving point now for why they don't go to Catholic schools.

Dana Andersen believes the Catholic school is the only answer for her children. She has three boys at Christ the King right now, Carter, Bennett and Wilson, and her oldest two daughters went there as well.

"The investment of sending them to a private Catholic school, for us, was those added influences to kind of counteract what I see as secular negative messages a lot of the times," said Dana Andersen. "It provides them with a foundation of positive messages, positive values, old-fashioned values, hard work ethic, discipline."

Dana feels she can only help her children with a base foundation. But as they get older, the outside influences get worse.

She hopes the next Pope will speak directly to kids and young adults, because she knows they are hearing from others, like celebrities.

"I would love for all of my kids to get Father Len's Tweets and the Pope's Tweets, in addition, unfortunately sometimes they are going to get the Kardashian tweets," Dana said.

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