Local reaction to election of Pope Francis I


The news of the newly elected Pope Francis I had people right her here in Central Illinois celebrating.

"There's a great sense of relief," said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield. "There's also a very great sense of a connection to our tradition, that this is an unbroken tradition now of almost 2,000 years of the election of the holy father to be the successor of St. Peter and the vicar of Christ."

A tradition bringing the Catholic community great joy.

"I'm excited," said Vicki Compton of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield. "I think all Catholics are excited... lots of positive things for Catholics to talk about right now."

Talking about a lot of firsts like how the newly elected Pope is the first head of the Roman Catholic church from Latin America.

"He's coming from an area very predominantly catholic area in South America," the Bishop said.

And the first Pope to choose the name Francis.

I'm very encouraged by that," said Jonathan Sullivan of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield. "My middle name is Francis. I went to a Franciscan college, so very happy to see the choice of the name Francis."

A name representing humility and concern for the poor, a decision surprising some as to just how quickly it came.

"Apparently there was a pretty strong consensus that emerged early around his name and obviously and obviously didn't have the two-thirds majority on the firs two ballots, but I'm sure once his name started floating to the top they probably thought well this is the sign of the holy spirit, that this is the man," the Bishop said.

Father John Burnette of Saint Patrick's in Decatur said he was surprised the decision came so quickly, and said it is "an awesome gift to the church."

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