Pope Francis the first non-European pontiff, which is a big deal.
Catholics in Sacramento, after seeing the white smoke, turned off their TVs and computers and rushed down to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament to be in church when the announcement came in.
Clutching their phones, they awaited word on who the church’s new leader would be. Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina was named.
“It has to be a wonderful boost for the Hispanic community,” said Monsignor James Murphy.
Half of the Catholics in the Sacramento area are Hispanic.
“There is something very special about being in the middle of mass and and being told who your knew pope is,” said parishioner Melissa Melendez.
“I never thought I would see a Latino Pope in my lifetime. It is a source of pride and I think you are going to see a lot of that response,” said parishioner Mike Madrid.
Monsignor Murphy of the Sacramento Catholic Dioceses believes this pope will inspire many in the community to return to the church.
“In many ways, the Hispanics are the future of our diocese because they have such deep values such deep Catholic values,” said Murphy.
“With 40 percent of the Catholic church being Latin American, I think it’s just an exciting time I think to be Catholic. It’s a new face for the church at a trying time and I think you are going to see a lot of excitement and support for the new pope,” said Madrid.
Pope Francis has only been the pontiff for a few hours and already he has made a difference locally, Hispanic Catholics have a sense of pride and hope of major reform in the Catholic Church.