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Joyful moment for Catholics as new Pope elected
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It was a joyful moment for Catholics around the world as the new Pope emerged from the curtains overlooking St. Peter's square Wednesday.
Early in the afternoon, the Cardinals chose 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.
He chose the name Pope Francis.
Francis is the first Pope from the Americas, and a relative surprise choice, as Cardinal Burgoglio didn't show up on any front-runner lists before the conclave.
Latin America has the largest share of the world's Catholics, and at one time, Argentina's church was considered the region's most conservative.
Bergoglio has been credited with modernizing the church.
He's also known for being very hands-on.
He often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals, and regularly visited the slums that surround Argentina's capital.
He considers social outreach to be the essential business of the church.
After 17 years as a priest, Father Jose Quintana finally got to see something he wasn't sure he would ever see.
"I was very impressed when he went like this and he asked us to pray for him," Quintana said.
In his church, St. Francis Xavier, around 80 percent of the parishioners share the Pope's native tongue.
Quintana ran into a member of his flock Wednesday afternoon, who took no small amount of pride in that fact.
Father Quintana said he finds it appropriate that the conclave's choice of the Argentinian surprised so many.
"It's almost the biblical message that people were not expecting nothing great to come from Bethlehem," he explained. "And that's the town where our savior Jesus Christ was born."
He says for Latinos, Francis symbolizes a recognition of their importance in the Catholic church, and for himself, it's a sign that we are all a step closer to living in a world without barriers.