Jorge Mario Bergogolio, Pope Francis masses: South Florida Catholics attending special masses

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- South Florida Catholics are attending special masses today, offered for the newly elected Pope Francis.

Many churches and chapels drape gold or white bunting above the entrance, or put the Vatican flag on display. The Palm Beach Diocese says the gesture is in line with Church Liturgical guidelines. 

As Pope Francis was announced Wednesday, at least eleven South Florida churches and chapels started to decorate in his honor.

An estimated 277,000 Catholics live in Palm Beach, Okeechobee, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

Special Masses have been scheduled at these locations, more are expected:

St. Patrick in Palm Beach Gardens - Thursday, March 14 - 8:30 a.m.

St. Ann in West Palm Beach - Thursday, March 14 - 12:05 a.m.

      (Mass at St. Ann open to parish and combined with St. Ann's Catholic school students and parents)

St. Mark the Evangelist in Fort Pierce - Sunday, March 24 - 8:30 a.m.

South Florida Catholics prayed for 78-year-old Pope Francis Wednesday.  Some church attendees said they were excited about the Pope's ethnic background in hopes that he would connect with Latinos in Florida.  Others questioned whether his views would translate to followers.

St. Patrick Church in Palm Beach Gardens posted to its website this Prayer for the Election of a New Pope:

O God, eternal shepherd, who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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