BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Western New York's immense Catholic community, led by Bishop Richard Malone, is joining faithful from around the world in welcoming the new pope. Many people are excited to have the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas.
MORE INFO | Learn more about Pope Francis I
"My reaction was first of all surprise because Pope Francis was clearly not on the short list of people everybody was talking about but also tremendous joy. I find this a very refreshing appointment," said Buffalo Bishop Most Reverend Richard Malone.
Catholics throughout the world and right here in western New York responded to the choice of a new pope. The choice of a Jesuit as a Pope is a good choice for some.
WATCH | Father Paul Seil of the St. Bernadette Parish in Orchard Park visited News 4 Thursday morning to talk about Pope Francis I. Watch the included video to see interview.
Lackawanna resident Rich Bartula said, "The choice of a Jesuit is just great. They are very humble priests, they have great sermons, they're just down to earth people."
Father Patrick Lynch is part of the Canisius Jesuit community. He said, "I do not know much about Pope Francis' Jesuit background, but I would assume that he is a man of the people, a man who is very interested in the poor. Even taking the name Francis would seem to indicate to me that he's interested in people who are in the margin of society who need assistance in improving their lives."
Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Catholic scholars say the name Francis symbolizes poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding. It's a choice that has not been made by any pope before.
"Throughout the history of Franciscanism we have tried to follow in those footsteps. How very significant and important that a Pope would now take that name, and to be a first. First as a Francis, first as someone outside of Europe, first Jesuit, it's just awesome," said Father Michael Sajda of St. Francis High School.
Bishop Malone said, "I really think in his taking of the name Francis, he is pledging himself, this is just my take on it, to kind of a deep and radical approach to leading the church, in a much more faithful way to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I think that's what's coming."
Overall local clergy say they are happy to work with the Holy Father. Some hope his appointment attracts people who have not been to the church.
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