The faithful have come to St. Mary Cathedral every day since the papal transition began, praying for God's guidance in choosing a new leader.
Today, as many of those prayers were answered, the pope was elected during that daily mass. Whispers spread the news through some, but many church-goers didn't hear about the appointment until after mass was over.
"I can see him following in the footsteps of our beloved John Paul the Second, so I'm excited," Julie Chamberlain says.
"It's a perhaps twice in a lifetime experience; it sends goosebumps up my spine," says Frank Hathaway of East Lansing.
Saint Mary's church staff put up the traditional colorful bunting, yellow and white today, to announce the new leader to the community.