AMARILLO - Catholics around the world are rejoicing over a new pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is making history by becoming the first non-European pontiff.
A little shocked but plenty thrilled is the general consensus from area Catholics about the appointment of the new pope.
"This is a wonderful surprise where you can tell god is guiding the church," Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek said.
Zurek says he has been praying for a Latino pope for years and that Pope Francis I, with his Argentina roots, is the perfect man for the job.
"I think it will give the people a new sense of dignity and pride in being Latino, and realizing that they can be empowered to take charge of many things," Zurek said.
Saint Francis of Assisi is the 12th century saint the new pontiff emulates; simple, humble, and expected to change the world.
"When he stopped and he said before I give the blessing, I want you to pray for me and give me your blessing... the humility he showed there will be a lesson I think for all the world, not just Catholics, and not only non-catholic Christians, but the whole world," Zurek said.
Pope Francis I is taking over at a rough time for the ancient church with declining faith and trust.
But many believe Pope Francis will turn things around for the catholic church, and for the world's less fortunate.
"He will become the spokesperson for the poor, I have no doubt on that," Zurek said.