Fresno Bishop Applauds New Pope - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fresno Bishop Applauds New Pope

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

Central Valley Catholics were glued to their television and computer screens on Wednesday waiting to see history at the Vatican.

Bernadette Martin's sixth-grade class at Our Lady Of Victory School in Fresno passed up lunch to get a first glimpse of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentinean who took the name Pope Francis.

The sixth graders were excited to see a Cardinal from South America elected as the new leader of more than one billion Catholics.  

"I kind of like saw a shadow during where the curtains are," one student said. "I know it was someone kind of smallish, oldish."

The fact that he's the first Pope from South America doesn't phase one sixth grader.  

"Argentina, America, it's the same thing," the student said. "As long as the pope has the same good qualities to strengthen the Catholic faith, it doesn't really matter."

The Bishop of the Fresno Diocese Armando Ochoa calls the announcement of a new pope a "shockwave felt worldwide."

"I think the College of Cardinals heard an anxiety of maybe the 19 Latin Cardinals in stating that our voice needs to be taken if the reality of the future of the church worldwide is going to be taken seriously,"Bishop Ochoa said.

One third of the Catholics in the United States are Hispanic, according to most recent data.

However, many have left the church and Bishop Ochoa believes Pope Francis could be the magnet to bring them back.

Bishop Ochoa also said that he was surprised by the fact that Pope Francis is a Jesuit Priest, better know for teaching than leading the flock.

Bishop Ochoa says he's never met Pope Francis but that will likely happen in four years when he's scheduled to visit the Vatican.

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