Hawaii Catholics Celebrate and Pray for Pope Francis

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- The sight of white smoke, and ringing of the bells at the Vatican signaled the selection of a new Pope. The election of Argentina's top Cardinal marked some important firsts for the church. Local Catholics offered their prayers for Pope Francis at mass today.

Crowds cheered the election of the first non-European Pope, spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics.

"It's a good day for Catholics worldwide" said Hawaii Catholic Puna Sorba. "They couldn't have picked a better person. He cooks his own food. There you go how humble can you be? He rides the bus!"

Cardinal Bergoglio's simple ways were reflected in his choice of the name Francis after Saint Francis, humble minister to the poor and, reinforced with Pope Francis's first official address.

Pope Francis said to the crowd, "I ask you pray to the Lord so that He blesses me."

At Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu, during today's mass, local Catholics had a blessing of their own for the new Pope: "We thank you for giving us this Gift of Francis the First. We ask you help us support him. We pray to the lord"

Hawaii Catholic John Fielding just returned from the Vatican. He met with the Cardinals before they started their conclave.

Fielding said, "One of the Cardinals I met was the frontrunner from Africa. I was actually praying for him more so, but I was very pleased with the outcome."

Bishop Larry Silva said it was a refreshing choice, "I think it's a great blessing to have someone from South America, from the Southern hemisphere be elected Pope."

Saint Francis School is energized by the Pope's choice of the name Francis.

Freshman Leilani Gamboa says, "To have our Pope also named after St. Francis, feels amazing."

Head of School Sister Joan of Arc is optimistic, saying "The man lives like Francis with his sense of poverty so it gives us a lot of hope the Church is going to move forward into the 21st century".

The school's on a high after the canonization of Marianne Cope, the first Franciscan sister to become Saint, just five months ago.

John Fielding sums it up this way, "Being blessed with St. Marianne Cope of the Franciscan order and having a Pope named Saint Francis is just a wonderful thing for Hawaii."

Hawaii Bishop Larry Silva will lead a special thankgsiving mass at Our Lady of Peace at noon tomorrow, to continue prayers for Pope Francis.

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