Catholic Diocese of Austin reacts to announcement of new pope

Catholic Diocese of Austin reacts to announcement of new pope

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With a puff of white smoke, news spread around the world that a gathering of Catholic Cardinals picked a new Pope from among their midst.

Claps and cheers erupted inside the Catholic Diocese of Austin.

"Oh, I was very excited, immediately," said Bishop Joe Vasquez.

"I was thrilled that first of all, we had a pope so soon," added Deacon Dan Lupo, with the Diocese of Austin.

Sister Maria Silva, with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, said, "Yea, (laughs)...I was very excited."

The Cardinal from Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, choosing to be called "Francis" strikes a chord with many Catholics.

"If he indeed is trying to follow the footsteps of Francis of Assissi, it's an incredible statement about his humility and his desire to reach out to the poor and minister to those in need," said Lupo.

"He's known to jump on the street car to get around. He cooks his own food. He's very much involved with the poor," said Bishop Vasquez.

Pope Francis is the first South American to lead the Roman Catholic Church.

He also speaks Spanish.

Vasquez said, "I am truly excited about the opportunity, hopefully, one day that I will have to meet personally with the Holy Father and be able to say hello to him. Definitely, because he speaks Spanish, that's also very important to me, being of Mexican-American descent, that to me is very important because I think that's going to appeal to many Latinos and Hispanics."

Bishop Vasquez believes Pope Francis is the first Holy Father to ask this of the people.

"Before he gave his blessing to the people, he invited the people to pray and bless him. I thought that was significant. It was a sign of humility," Vasquez said.

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