MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Catholic Church has a new leader. Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was named the new Pope, taking the Italian name Pope Francis. Mid-South Catholics eagerly awaited the announcement, and are anxious to see what the new Pope has in store for their church.
The white smoke was the signal to Catholics across the world to find a TV or a computer.
"WE were all busy watching our screens here to see what that name is going to be," said Nancy Deacon, Music Director for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in midtown Memphis.
Every employee had their eyes on their computer screen.
"It's very exciting, considering even with the election of the last Pope, we weren't able to see this as it happened. But now we can see it live, it's very exciting," said Richard Smith, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception.
Deacon sat nearly breathless as Pope Francis the First was announced.
"The fact that we're going to have our first western pope is pretty exciting," said Smith. "He's known for social justice, which is something I think we need more of in the world."
The Pope is a symbol of the church, and Smith said this Pope will be an appropriate leader. "They made a wise a choice," he said.
"It is a big day, we have a new Pope, new leadership; now time will tell how all that pans out, but full of hope and joy for him and his reign as Pope," Deacon added.
Pope Francis is 76 years old. He was elected in the fifth ballot of the conclave, and is the first Pope elected from the Americas.