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    Local priests respond to newly elected pope

    The Roman Catholic Church elected Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as its new pope March 13.

    Bergoglio has taken the name Francis for his reign as pope. It is customary for new popes to take a regnal name during their time as head of the church.

    Bergoglio is the first pope to take the name of Francis.

    According to CNN, Bergoglio is the first pope from outside of Europe in the modern era, the first South American pope and the third straight non-Italian pope.

    Loudoun County's Catholic Churches are excited over the election of the new pope.

    “We are filled with joy with the choosing of our new shepherd,” Father John Mosimann, pastor of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Leesburg said. “We will be praying for him as he leads our church into the future.”

    Father Arthur Johnson, a parochial vicar at Christ the Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Sterling was pleasantly surprised by the announcement of the new pope.

    “The fact he is from Argentina is great because we have a very large Spanish speaking population as part of our parish so I know they are absolutely thrilled,” Johnson said. “I think the appointment speaks to the importance of the church in Latin America and even acknowledges how critical the Spanish speaking population is in our church and other churches around the United States.

    “I am intrigued by the fact he chose the name Francis, because we are Franciscans here at Christ the Redeemer, I hope that will speak to a certain spirit of wanting to be a reconciler among people and nations,” Johnson said.

    Bergoglio's election comes on the first full day of the cardinals' conclave in the Sistine Chapel. It appears to have come on the fifth ballot and at least 77 of the 115 cardinal votes were needed for a pope to be chosen.

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