“Habemus Papam!” We have a new Pope! At the conclusion of the last two days, black smoke billowed out of the chimney at the Sistine Chapel indicating that there was still no new Pope elected, but Wednesday afternoon at around 2:45 p.m. central time a new Pope emerged.

76 year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Begoglio of Buenos Aires — the first non-European pope of the modern era — was named the leader of the worlds 1.2 billion Catholics. He was re-named Pope Francis I.

This is welcomed news after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down on February 28. Pope Francis I is seen as a compassionate conservative who values simplicity and humility.

The new Pope said to the rain-soaked crowd, “Pray for me and I will see you soon.” He asked them to pray for his predecessor and concluded with, “Have a good evening and rest well.”

Around the World, the members of the Catholic choice are rejoicing at the announcement of their new pope.

Locally, Father Francis Njoko of St. Mary’s Queen of Peace Church said he was very excited and when talking to him, his voice resonated with joy over the news.

“It is an exciting thing for the whole world,” said Njoko, a native of Nigeria. “The whole church is excited. I’ve spoken to family in Africa and they are excited.”

Njoko added that it was particularly exciting for him because Pope Francis I chose the same name as Njoko.

“I’ve gotten text messages from parishioners who are congratulating me,” said Njoko.

Njoko said that this election of the pope is unique. He said that America has never had a pope and though Pope Francis I is from South America it is incredibly exiting for everyone in the Americas.

Njoko said, “We want a pope, a leader, universally. The church isn’t complete without him.”

Many people went to the internet and Facebook when the good news of the new pope released. When the Bulletin shared the news on Facebook, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“I am so happy that we have a new Pope, may the Lord grant this new Pope the guidance and strength to lead our Faith into the New Age and time where we all remain true in serving the Lord and spreading the Good News of the Lord,” said one Facebook user.