Area Catholics celebrate election of new pope

ACADIA PARISH - After a day of waiting for the white smoke to rise from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, the thousands of Catholics from around the world who made the trip to Italy didn’t have to wait as long as some projected to see who would be elected the as head of the world’s Roman Catholics.

Pope Francis I, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was introduced to the throngs of people in Vatican City at approximately 2:30 p.m. CST Wednesday.

Pope Francis I becomes the 266th pontiff to serve the 1.2 billion Catholics world wide.

The archbishop of Buenos Aires is the Argentine-born son of an Italian railway worker. Seen as a compassionate conservative, he reportedly came in second during the 2005 balloting that ultimately elected Benedict XVI.

When spoken to at the St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church rectory, Father Mikel Polson seemed downright giddy with the choice.

“I am in absolute awe at his opening ... I’ve was just watching it on television,” said Fr. Polson. “He is the first from the Americas, the first Jesuit ... this is just incredible. I’m very pleased.

“For him to come out and ask the people to pray for him was a great sign of humility. That was the first time I’ve ever seen that,” he added.

“We thank God for the gift of His Holiness, Pope Francis, and we thank Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., for his acceptance of the office of Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff,” Bishop Michael Jarrell, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. “Long live the Pope.”

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