BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some of the nearly 230,000 Catholics in the Capital City are thrilled about the newly elected Pope Francis.
Father Miles Walsh and some of his Our Lady of Mercy Parishioners gathered to watch Pope Francis address the Catholic world for the first time.
"I thought it was time for a Latin American pope because 500 million of the 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America...from Mexico on down. So I personally think it's a wonderful selection," said Father Walsh.
Father Walsh says this is the sixth Pope of his lifetime, but he says this pope brings a lot of firsts to the papacy: he's the first Jesuit elected, the first pope named "Francis" and the first pope from the Americas.
"I thought it was time for a Latin American pope because 500 million of the 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America...from Mexico on down. So I personally think it's a wonderful selection" said Father Walsh.
Many area Catholics hope pope Francis's connection to the vibrant, Catholic culture of South America will help change the direction of the church as a whole.
"I would just like to see Catholics come home...even the Catholics that attend church on Sunday to draw closer to our doctrine," said Donna Hall.
Some say Pope Francis starting his papacy right now is a great way to inspire Christians to go back to the basics of their faith.
"It's a very prayerful, penitential time...I can't think of a more perfect time to have announced pope. It's one week before palm Sunday, and to me it's just a very holy time," said Cristal Corbett Hebert.
"A conclave is really a time when the whole church is called to prayer," said Father Walsh. "I think people felt that very, very strongly this time so there's a profound emotion...in seeing how God answers."