Local Catholics React to New Pope

White smoke piped out of the Sistine Chapel at 2:06 p.m. EST, signaling the election of a new pope.

"It's an exciting time for the Church," said Jane Bortner, of St. Margaret's parish in Narberth. "Everyone here is surprised by the speed it came at."

Inside the bars and businesses in the borough of Narberth, which is a predominantly Catholic neighborhood, people watched the event live, as Jorge Mario Bergoglio was announced as the 266th pope, succeeding Pope Benedict  XVI, who resigned at the end of February.

Yadira Mejia, a senior at Merio Mercy Academy was personally overjoyed by the news.

"Just having a pope that lived in a Spanish country is (amazing)" she said. "It's like injecting life back into the church."

Mejia's parents are Ecuadorean and she says they struggled to find a Spanish speaking church when they first came to Philadelphia.

"I feel like there's a lot of emotion in the Spanish communities. Maybe some of those ways of celebrating masses, with a lot more festivities, maybe that will be implemented into the church," she said.

Delores Lopresti, a second grade teacher at St. Margaret School in Narberth was impressed by the name the new pope selected.

"I like that he took a simple name, Pope Francis," she said. "I hope he can appeal to young Catholics."

Earlier, Colleen Donnelly had expressed her hope for a local Pope.

"I hope we get someone from America, someone who can relate to our problems, to our world," said Donnelly as she cut hair at Colleen's Family Hairstyling. "I hope they have the patience and the perseverance to deal with the stuff with clarity and with transparency."

The decision came on the second day of the papal Conclave.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recalled when he first met the new pope.

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"Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio, is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest  of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ," Chaput said.

Just a few hours earlier at St. Monica's church in South Philadelphia, people who attended morning mass were praying for the College of Cardinals to come to a consensus that was good for the future of the Church.

"It's important that everyone, everywhere, with all kind of faiths and religions and beliefs, I hope that he [the Pope] is for, whether they are women, men or gay," said Diane Orapallo.

"And the only other thing that we can do as members of the Catholic church is to pray that the wisdom supersedes any friendships, any misgivings," said Carmelita Digildo.

For Sister Barbara Buckley, principal of Merion Mercy Academy, in Merion Station, the new pope offers a "teaching moment."

"We're overwhelmed, we're extremely excited," she said. " This is a great moment for the Americas."

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