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Austin Catholics react to Pope Francis

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The bells rang at St. Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin Wednesday afternoon as billions of Catholics around the world awaited the identity of the Pope that had just been elected.

The construction crews restoring the historic church helped put up the Papal flag.

And finally Pope Francis from Argentina was revealed.

"Yes, I've heard of him. I don't know him personally but it's great for the Hispanic community. It's the first that's outside of the European continent," said Jimmy Franquie from Puerto Rico.

"I think it's fabulous that we have a non-European Pope and it's exciting and we'll see, you know...where he takes the church as a whole," said Maria Villanueva from Austin.

Across town at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Associate Pastor Uche Obikwelu was proud to finally be able to mention the Pope at mass -- the first time since Pope Benedict resigned.

"We have not mentioned any Pope's name in the past. But tonight with joy, we shall mention the name of Pope Francis...our new Pope," Obikwelu said to the congregation.

Lauren Rosales also feels the first Latin American Pope is a great thing for the Hispanic community.

"I think it's really great and I think it may help some who may not have had a strong connection with some of the European Popes for whatever reason it may be, not anything personal. He might be able to draw in a little more in their faith or in their culture if he's able to incorporate some of those elements into the church and just speaking and relating to the people," Rosales said.

Church-goer Alicia Martinez expressed her joy.

"We are elated, just elated! We felt like a motherless child, motherless children before this so we thank God that we have a very humble, very loving man that will guide, be a good Shepherd for all Catholics," Martinez said.

She hopes Pope Francis will give the Catholic Church the help it needs.

"Our church needs a lot of help right now and I think they have chosen the right person that will guide us and to get us through the turmoil. It's not only a bad time for the church but the world is in very bad times right now," Martinez said.

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