Local Catholics Joyful, Look to Future

New Pope received well by folks in the Midlands

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- From the Vatican to the Midlands, Catholics everywhere rejoice in the election of its 226th leader, Pope Francis.

"We have a new pope! We have a new pope!"

Bells rang and bunting was beautifully bundled in a bow, donning Columbia's Saint Joseph Catholic church on Devine Street this afternoon, even before the identity of the new pope was revealed.

"We were glued to the TV waiting for the smoke to come and when we saw it was white, we started yelling 'We have a new pope, we have a new pope,'" said Mary Kay Rushman, assistant to the church's pastor.

"It's pretty exciting," said Adrienne Carroll, sitting in the car pool line waiting for her daughter. "It's phenomenal! The kids have followed it through school, through church. It will set the tone for our church for the next couple of years."

Former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis the First, the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The 76-year-old leader is reportedly considered to be a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing.

"We will pray for him and keep him in our thoughts and prayers and hope for a nice long tenure with him."

Pope Francis was elected as the first pontiff from Latin America and will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Catholics make up 4.25% of the population in South Carolina.

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