PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- - Throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast, catholics are reacting to the selection of their new spiritual leader, Pope Francis.
Minutes after the announcement was made at the Vatican, thousands of miles away in Palm Beach Gardens, folks outside the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola church began celebrating.
"A conclave of cardinals just got together amazingly that fast. He must be the right person. I mean it was such a fast decision and a beautiful one," said Beth Zanotelli, who worships at St. Ignatius.
Gold bunting was strung up around the doors of the church and inside, a special mass took place partly in honor of Pope Francis.
The new pope is the first to be selected who is from outside of Europe and is from Argentina.
"Well there are a lot of holy men throughout the world and I think it's wonderful that we have somebody from South America. It's a great nation, a lot of catholics and I'm sure they're elated as well as we are," said Tom Melillo, who worships at St. Ignatius.
The Bishop of the Palm Beach Diocese, Reverend Gerald Barbarito, said he is most surprised by the age of Pope Francis who is 76-years-old.
Bishop Barbarito said what excites him the most about the new pope is that he is the first from South American. He thinks that will help connect with Latinos, a demographic he said the fastest growing within the church.
"I think we're going to see a very outgoing and and loving holy spirit. I personally think it's wonderful that he's from Argentina and that he's going to represent the Hispanic community in a wonderful," said Bishop Barbarito.
Bishop Barbarito said he does not expect the new pope to make any major changes to the philosophy of the church. He does anticipate a renewed effort though in how Pope Francis interacts with those around the world.
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