COLLEGEVILLE - Catholics around the world have a new Pope.  Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is now Pope Francis.  He's the first ever Pope from outside of Europe.

The 76-year-old archbishop of Beunos Aires has spent nearly his entire career in Argentina, but his parents are from Italy.

Bill Cahoy is the Dean of the School of Theology at St. John's University.  He says the Pope's experience is a hopeful sign.

Cahoy says the new Pope is a Jesuit, which have a reputation for wanting justice.  He says, by being the first to pick the name 'Francis', it's also a sign that the new Pope will be willing to blaze new ground.

He says Pope Francis makes history by becoming the first Pope elected outside of Europe.  However, he does have strong ties to Europe.

Cahoy says, despite the fact that he was the runner-up in the last Conclave, he was not considered a front-runner this time around.

The new pope is currently 76 years old. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI was 78 when he was chosen to serve.

Father Tony Oelrich is the rector of St. Mary's Cathedral in St. Cloud. He says he was a little shocked to hear the cardinals chose an older candidate.

After the symbolic white smoke filled the sky in Rome, a group of 12 people gathered in the home of Oelrich.  He says he is looking forward to seeing Pope Francis expand the churches message in new ways.

Oelrich says he is hearing from people all over through text messages, emails and phone calls.

Some students at St. Cloud's Cathedral High School got to watch the historic announcement of the new pope from their classroom.

Theology teacher Jim Trout turned on the live broadcast Wednesday for his students. Trout says he felt it was important for his students to witness it.

More than 20 students watched on TV as Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio was announced as the first pope from the Americas. He will take the name Pope Francis.

After the new pope finished the remarks, the class of ninth-graders asked a range of questions from how the pope is chosen to what role the pope plays in Catholicism and the world.

The Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict released the following statement: "We rejoice with the whole Church on the election of the new Pope. We are grateful to the Holy Father for his willingness to undertake this sacred task. Our sincere prayers and support are with him, as he seeks to make the light of Christ's love shine ever more brightly in the world."


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