Suncoast Catholics proud Pope Francis is Time Magazine's Person of the Year

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SARASOTA, FLA. - News that Time Magazine selected Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year was not a surprise to Father Matthew Grady.

“He’s only been in the office of the papacy for nine months and already I think he has made more of an impact this year than anyone else.”

Father Grady is the Chaplin at Cardinal Mooney High School. Until July he was living and studying in Rome and was in Rome during the pope’s election.

“It was a very exciting time. I was privileged and blessed to have been there to see the election of Pope Francis and the historic retirement of Pope Benedict XVI.”

Grady says during his short term Pope Francis has been a unifying force among Catholics.

“People who are very involved in their faith are ecstatic about him. People as well, who may have drifted from their faith or are not as involved for whatever person reasons, they are asking questions now too. They are very interested in what this pope has to say.”

According to Grady, his students are among the young people who are drawn to the pope.

“They are very fascinated just by his congenial nature, the fact that he seems to be so approachable, even a grandfatherly type of figure.”

Pope Francis has already made a lasting impression among Catholics and the world. Grady likes his leadership by example and cites how Pope Francis literally embraces the sick, the poor and the suffering.

“He is just being who he is. He’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a person who cared for the poor, who lived his entire life this way and just being the pope is not going to change that.”

Father Grady tells ABC 7 he expects Pope Francis will make additional positive headlines in the future by simply continuing to put his faith into action.