Appleton professor has close ties with Pope Francis

CREATED Mar 14, 2013

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APPLETON - Not many of us can say we knew the pope back before he was the leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide, but that’s exactly what one Appleton man can say.

“It’s pretty unbelievable, pretty amazing,” said Gustavo Fares, a Lawrence University Professor.

Fares isn’t just talking about his Argentine pride, he has actually met the pope a handful of times.

“My cousin was studying in the seminary to be a priest in the Jesuit seminary," he said. "Bergoglio was there as the provincial.”

Fares visited his cousin several times, and was able to meet Bergoglio.

“The family has kept a close relationship," the professor added. "Whenever he goes to Mendoza, where my family lives, he visits my aunt and they have dinner together.”

Fares argues that Bergoglio will make a great leader of the church.

“I know through my visits and through my family that he’s very intelligent, very simple, very humble, but also courageous,” he said.