Local Catholics Welcome New Pope

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After 24 hours and five votes by the Catholic Church’s cardinals, Argentina’s cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday.

Catholics at Saint Joseph's in Tontitown said they are excited about the announcement of the new pope.

“It's an exciting time for our church," said Kristie Hendricks, kindergarten catechist.

"I was actually very excited to see who it was, to see it was someone outside of Europe,” Hendricks said. "We have a fresh start, ready to go."

Catholics said he demonstrated simplicity and a humbling personality. Tontitown Catholics prayed for the Holy Father during mass. He's the first pope from South America.

"It's nice that they are broadening out, looking at other spectrums, and looking into people who might bring different light," said Tiffany Pianalto St. Joseph’s parishioner.

Pianalto watched at home when the crowd cheered as Bergoglio was introduced to the world.

"They found him so eager and excited to be the next one in line," Pianalto said.

He will be known as Pope Francis I.

"It's going to be something new, something the Catholic Church hasn't seen so I'm pretty excited for the change," said Kevin Rowe, catholic.

Catholics are looking forward to the leadership he will bring to the 1.2 billion Catholics Church.

"I'm just waiting to see. It's hard to judge and we shouldn't judge. We'll see what he brings," Hendricks said.