Pope Francis Signifies Renewal for South Florida Catholics

Pope Francis' tenure as head of the Catholic Church has been marked by a sense of renewal.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pope Francis spoke entirely off the cuff during Sunday's Palm Sunday address, signaling a change in the church. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez has the story.

    At the start of Holy Week, churchgoing Catholics in South Florida say this is a time to renew their faith.

    It's also a time of renewal for their church leader, who has done man new things lately.

    During Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's Square, Pope Francis ignored his prepared homily and spoke off the cuff.

    "Pope Francis certainly has his own style and personality, as each pope would have. He, I think in a very short time, has captured the imagination of the world," Archbishop Thomas Wenski said.

    Holy Week marks an important time for the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    In another diversion from traditional papal practices, after Palm Sunday mass, His Holiness hopped off the pope-mobile and posed for "selfies" with Catholic youth.

    "I see selfies every Sunday. Now I'm involved in a few selfies myself," Wenski said.

    On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will wash the feet of the elderly and people with disabilities at a center in Italy. Historically, previous popes washed the feet of priests.

    "I think he's great," parishioner Beatriz Pascual said. "He's been great for the church it's exactly what we needed right now."

    Not up for negotiation for Francis, however, are abortion and priesthood.

    "The Church is not at liberty to change the practice of the Lord Jesus himself. Jesus did not call women to the priesthood," Wenski said.

    After more than a year of unpredictable actions, Pope Francis is sure to continue shocking the world. Change many in South Florida say they welcome.