PALM DESERT, Calif. - AT 11:00 mass Sunday morning, Father Howard Lincoln's homily centered around one statement.
"With a less formal and more down to earth style, I believe with all my heart that we will have a Pope not above the people, but a Pope of the people," he said.
On the first Sunday with a new Pope, parishioners say they felt the positive energy in the air.
"Gratefulness, excitement, a lot of excitement about it," Carol Zadel said.
"Today will be an introduction to the Pope. I think that is wonderful because, as Carol has said, we are all so excited about having him, his love for the Lord, his love for Mary. I think that will reflect in everything that goes on," Patrick Crofoot said.
"I believe we have somebody who will really rule with a velvet hammer," Zadel said.
It's clear Catholics are asking for a lot of change.
"Almost across the board, I think people are looking to this Pope to make, to reform the church," Father Lincoln said.
Celebrating the first Sunday under a new papacy was the perfect time to address what Father Lincoln hopes is a new slate.
"If you molest a kid, you're gone. I don't care if you're a priest, a bishop, a cardinal, you are gone. It's history. It's over," Father Lincoln said.
Another issue Father Lincoln touched on was welcomed with a round of applause.
"Jesus Christ did not need a bank, why in the world does the Vatican need a bank? I don't know," Father Lincoln said.
The needed changes won't overshadow and dampen the light on the man held on a pedestal, though.
"Taking a bus with the Cardinal, a car to the hotel afterwards the next day, to thank the staff, retrieve his luggage, pay his bill. What I see is a man who really wants to make a difference," Zadel said.
As Catholics celebrate what lies ahead for the papacy, they continue to pray.
"I pray we have a Pope to lead us to know Jesus, not just know about Jesus. A Pope that leads us to be missionaries in our everyday life, that leads us to pray at restaurants for example and don't be afraid. That tells us that faith is not a Sunday only affair, that faith is part of our identity," Father Lincoln said.
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