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Local Catholics react to Pope Francis

PALM DESERT, Calif. - When white smoke rose, so did excitement in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church office.
"We all started yelling in the office. It was really exciting. We turned the TV on, and people were calling," Liz Myrum, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church receptionist, said.

"Tears came to my face. I couldn't help but...I'm happy. I'm excited for it," Erika Gonzalez said.

After watching, waiting...finally a new Pope to follow. Staff sat around the TV at Sacred Heart watching Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina address his new followers.

"I remember Pope John Paul the 2nd when he passed away, but this one, there's no mourning, no sadness, everyone is choosing a new Pope. Everyone is excited, almost historic if you will," Eric Avila.

Two days of close conclave watching, and some Catholics said perhaps that's a little fast. They say they have confidence in Pope Francis - the chosen, and for good reason.
"He serves the poorest of the poor. So for us to have someone, we are so incredibly humbled and appreciative. That is a huge blessing for the church," Betty Hernandez said.

Many Catholics we talked to have said they hope the new leader will inspire more people to turn to faith. They feel the first Pope from the America's can do that.

"He has asked for everyone's prayer. For sure he has not only our prayers, but our gratitude, and support, absolutely."

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