The white smoke bellowed from the Sistine Chapel in Italy Wednesday as the Catholic Church announced that Jorge Mario Bergoglio will serve as the new Pope.
Bergoglio, previously the archbishop in Bueons Aires before stepping down last year, is the first Pope ever elected from Latin America. He is a Jesuit, according to multiple media outlets, and is now the 266th pontiff. He has taken the name Francis.
Ellington resident Kara Stauffer is a senior at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and was in class when the Pope was chosen. Stauffer said that the selection then became the class, as the professor turned on live television coverage.
She said that some classes were canceled so students could take in the experience, and that she went to a Mass of Thanksgiving on campus.
According to Stauffer, the statuses of her CUA Facebook friends were “full of excitement.”
“On campus the basilica bells were ringing and young people were cheering in the student center,” she said. “We are very happy here at CUA.”
Stauffer felt that Pope Francis made a moving gesture after he was presented.
“It was very powerful when Pope Francis had the people bless him before he gave his first blessing,” she said. “Such an act of humility. He showed us the great value of the body of Christ – us. Very cool.”
Bishop Michael Cote, from the Diocese of Norwich, released the following statement:
I join at this moment with all Catholics, all people of faith and all diocesan faithful in expressing our thanksgiving for this joy-filled moment of welcoming His Holiness, Pope Francis.
The extraordinary events of the past month--sudden as they have been-- have brought us the gift of a new Shepherd prepared for this moment-- for this time.
We are grateful. We are excited. We are overflowing with hope and a deep sense of renewal.
As the first Pope ever chosen from South America, the Holy Father will have a special appreciation for the prosperity of faith in Latin America. Felicidades Santo Padre, Papa Francis.
We welcome the Holy Father with open arms. This is an inspired moment. The light of Christ shines brightly this evening.
The Most Reverend Michael R. Cote,
Bishop of Norwich