Portland evangelist excited friend was selected as new pope - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland evangelist excited friend was selected to be the new pope

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The selection of an Argentine cardinal as the new pope has special meaning for one Portland man.

Luis Palau, a Christian evangelist born in Argentina, has known Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope Francis, for years.

"My son said, ‘You won't believe it. Your friend, the cardinal, is the pope," he recalled. "I guess I exploded out loud."

Palau, a Christian evangelist, met Bergoglio on a trip to Argentina. At the time, Bergoglio was an archbishop.

They have continued to speak with each other on the phone and meet during Palau's trips to the country.

"He always dressed very simply. He was a very regular person," said Palau. "You never felt, oh, here comes the cardinal. It was always a brother, you know, a friend, a humble guy."

Bergoglio, 76, is believed to have been the runner-up to Pope Benedict XVI in the 2005 conclave.

"So when we saw him after that, I said, ‘Phooey, I wanted to be able to say I'm a friend of the pope and you go and lose the vote.' And then I said, ‘Maybe the next time," said Palau. "And he said, ‘Oh no. I'll be too old by then.'"

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