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Local Catholics Flock To St. Patrick’s Cathedral For Introduction Of New Pope

Group Of Argentinian Tourists Among Those Who Watched Historic Event Unfold
People gather inside St. Patrick's Cathedral to watch the announcement of a new pope. (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

People gather inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to watch the announcement of a new pope. (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was great anticipation leading up to the naming of the new pope Wednesday. The faithful converged on St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan to pray for their new leader.

“My heart took a couple skips. Skipped a couple beats,” Sister Mary Eucharita of Michigan told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

That’s how many Catholics felt outside St. Patrick’s as they learned Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope.

Karen Bonner runs a convent in Chicago and said the surprise choice was what the Church needed.

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“I think it’s really good that it’s someone different, that it’s someone who is going to speak more languages to be able to reform the Church in some ways and maybe reach out and heal some of the problems the Church has right now,” said Bonner.

Monsignor Robert Fuhrman said the choice was a surprise to many, but Bergoglio’s humility will likely make Pope Francis the pope of the poor.

“When he would go and do confirmations in parishes, he would take the city bus. That’s not usually the way a bishop arrive at their churches,” Fuhrman said.

Many Catholics said they rushed to St. Patrick’s as soon as they heard the news.

About 300 people watched the event unfold at the cathedral, including a group of Argentinian tourists.

“We came inside the cathedral and to find out the pope is from your country, it’s just unbelievable, really,” one of those tourists told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Fernando Losada and his friends just arrived from Argentina. They spoke little English, but were feeling tons of pride, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Losada said.

“Argentina is full of Catholics, and they are proud – very proud,” added his friend Fernando Carrano.

Catholics said they recognize the pope has a tough road ahead.

Others also shared their experience.

“We were at the Lego store and we heard about the white smoke, so we thought we should head across the street and we just happened to be there at the moment and it was really very exciting and quite moving,” Gayle Potter said.

“I think it’s exciting and he’ll be a good pope,” said 8-year-old Julia Murray.

“I think it was cool that we were here when he got elected and I think he’ll be a good pope,” added 10-year-old Emma Potter.

“It is exciting to have a new pope, which will encourage us and develop us a little bit further,” said Chelsea Dench of Louisville, Ky.

It’s a new pope, a new start, a new beginning again – lovely,” said Sara Ward of Scotland.

Added Wanda Kabel of Ontario, Canada, “I think it’s exciting that for the first time in 1,300 years that we have a pope that is from South America and not a European country.”

Catholics said they recognize the pope has a tough road ahead.

“He has many years behind him with the status quo,” said Francis Potter of Cincinnati. “I think it’s going to be difficult, and going to be baby steps.”

And while many were delighted with the selection of Pope Francis, others had been pulling for a hometown favorite named Timothy Dolan.

“I was hoping for the cardinal to be a contender – maybe be was a contender, maybe he was close,” said Barbara Kendrew of Guyana. “In prayer, I give thanksgiving it’s finally over.”

But it wasn’t just Catholics who were following the process with a close eye.

Reporter Carol D’Auria of 1010 WINS spoke with a Jewish woman, who said the process of picking a pope has always fascinated her.

“I watched when they were going through it to pick Pope Benedict. I stayed glued to the television. If I wasn’t Jewish, I’d be Catholic,” she said with a chuckle. “I find it very spiritual.”

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