Catholics Across the State Welcome the New Pope

In more than a millennium, Pope Francis is the first pontiff from outside Europe. Catholics at churches across the state are welcoming the new Pope, especially the Latino community.

"So once they said he was from Argentina, I was like oh my god our prayers were answered," said Juanita Otero of West Haven, who says she couldn't have imagined a Hispanic Pope.

"Having a pope that speaks our language that knows the culture. It's very unprecedented for us."

She's Puerto Rican and says it's an important moment for Latinos around the world. Otero has been worshiping at Saint Rose of Lima in Fair Haven for more than 20 years adding that she was glued to her television all day awaiting the news.

"That it would be a good one. One that is really going to make a change," Otero says.

Wednesdays are their usual nights for singing and praying and dozens came to honor the new pontiff.

"If you would've asked this to an Argentinian he'll give you a hug. He'll say it's wonderful," said Domingo Vega of New Haven.

"God took the perfect man to serve the whole world and to serve Jesus," said Claudio Gonzalez of Hamden. He likes that he chose the name Francis--in honor of the Italian preacher who lived a life of poverty."For me this comes from God."

"Francis stands for something. He stands for the relationship with the natural world," said Father Jeffrey von Arx, the president of Fairfield University, the only Jesuit college in the state. "You feel that you know the kind of person he is given the background that we would share together and given the experience he's had within the society of Jesus."

Forty percent of all the world's Catholics live in Latin America and many parishioners said they are excited about having someone they can relate to leading the church.

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