Catholics jubilant over choice of new pope
Posted March 14, 2013
For the first time in several days, Rome saw sunny skies Thursday, and the mood of the city matched the weather.
People celebrated the selection late Wednesday of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The anxiety that followed last month's resignation of Pope Benedict XVI had dissipated much like the clouds and rain over the Vatican.
"I was quite excited because there was a possibility for it to be someone different," said Danielle Jordaan, a Catholic from South Africa. "It's quite good they made a decision so quickly."
Pope Francis is the first non-European to lead the church in 1,300 years, but that doesn't faze European Catholics.
"It's a good time to be more open for new ideas," said Herbert Weitzgarten, a German Catholic.
Nicholas Coelella, a seminarian from Brooklyn, was in St. Peter's Square when Francis took center stage after his election, and he said he was stunned when he first saw the new pope.
"Who is that?" Coelella said he thought. "Other than that, it was a very beautiful experience, and I was very happy to be there."
He said his astonishment is a sign to him that the cardinals made the right selection during their conclave.
As the first Latin American pope begins his mission to the world, the world will watch him closely, and those who were at the Vatican to witness history firsthand said they won't soon forget it.
"It was different," Weitzgarten said. "You can pray, and you can laugh, and you can (cry)."