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What the Pope's Visit Means to Texas

Catholic Church of England and Wales/flickr
Pope Francis' arrival in the U.S. this week will draw media attention.

From Texas Standard:

One of the first things we do each morning – in the wee small hours – is check in on the top stories our colleagues are talking about here in Texas, across the country, and around the world. 

Back in the second week of July this year, host David Brown noticed something: While papers across the country had different notions of the top story that week, there was an unusual consensus among the papers in South Texas: Nearly every single one included a front page story on a papal visit to South America.

Given how much diversity of interest one typically sees on the front pages of our newspapers, the similarity was nothing if not striking.

Pope Francis arrived in the U.S. this week at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C. Back in Texas, we're asking why that story resonates here.

The Standard asked three of Texas' news decision-makers to help us answer the question: Tim Archuleta, Editor of the Corpus Christi Caller-TimesCarlos Sanchez, Editor of the McAllen Monitor, and Jennifer PreyssFaith Editor at the Victoria Advocate.

Preyss says there are six million Catholics in Texas, and the Catholic community relates to Pope Francis.

“As a Spanish speaker, as a Latino, I think he resonates among our community,” she says.

Archuleta says they put together a special section on the Pope and had several pages covering his visit in their Sunday issue.

“There’s a little bit of a revival going on among some of the Hispanic followers,” Archuleta says. “They’re moving a little closer toward him.”

In South Texas, public life incorporates more religious elements than in other parts of the country, Sanchez says. Earlier this month, the Pope led Mass via satellite in a McAllen, Tex., church.

“It was a real sense of endorsement by the local faithful that the Pope chose McAllen,” Sanchez says.

Hear more at Texas Standard.


Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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