Pope Francis Elected: Montgomery County, DC Residents React
The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signaling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church. Locals across the community responded.
At 3:22 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of Argentina, who took the name Pope Francis, appeared on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square after news outlets reported that white smoke was pouring from a Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling the election of a new pope.
Roman Catholic Church cardinals began meeting Tuesday at the Vatican. The 115 voting cardinals took four or five votes over two days, USA Today reported.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl—archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes Washington, DC, and Maryland's Montgomery, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties—took part in the selection process.
The Guardian describes Bergoglio as "a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and has a practical approach to poverty."
Catholics in throughout the Washington region reacted with excitement.
“Everyone is excited he’s a Jesuit, and I think there’s excitement around the fact that he’s named Pope Francis,” said Connie Mitchell, spokeswoman at the all-girl Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart told Bethesda Patch.
Students gathered to watch the live stream as the pope addressed crowds in Rome. Mitchell watched with the middle schoolers.
“Francis was known to be a real reformer, so people are embracing it. Everyone is eager to learn more about him,” Mitchell said.
In Washington, DC, a Mass was planned Wednesday to mark Bergoglio’s election.
"I feel renewed as a Catholic. I, myself, am Latina and I'm excited to have 'one of us' as Pope. I think 'our' community needs it and I think our faith needs it. I'm hopeful and feel invigorated," Ochoa said.
Speak out: What are the greatest challenges the new pope will face? What will it mean here in Rockville? What do you think of the choice? Speak out in the comments below.
Patch Editor Tiffany Arnold contributed to this story