The Catholic Church now officially has a new leader. On Wednesday, the cardinals elected Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, and he is now known as Pope Francis I.
Catholics here in Erie said that Wednesday was an exciting day to be a Catholic. And even though they weren't really familiar with their new pope, they say after hearing him speak for the first time they are happy with the cardinals' decision.
At mass at St. Peter Cathedral on Wednesday was the first time Catholics in Erie prayed for their new pope.
May say that as soon as they saw the white smoke, they were anxiously awaiting to hear who their new pope would be.
Mark Borowy said that the selection process itself is very exciting to watch.
"A lot of people are probably going to be surprised by the fact that it took such a short period of time," said Borowy. "But because Benedict announced his resignation sometime back, the cardinals had a chance to consider who they might vote for."
Many parishioners admitted they don't know much about Pope Francis, but say they feel comfortable with the decision made by the cardinals.
"He seems humble, he seems ready for the job and I just think all of us Catholics around the world today are just thrilled to death," said Bill Jelly, Jr. "His vitality, his new perspective from a different part of the world, it's just really exciting."
"I got a sense of great peace and serenity and humility," said James Burik. "I'm at real peace with him, and I think he's a holy man and very learned and humble and prayerful."
What they did know about Pope Francis came from his work as a bishop. They say he didn't live in the Bishop's Palace and did many things for himself. They say he truly emulates Saint Francis of Assisi.