Area Catholics Praising Pope Choice

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Catholics in mid-Michigan are calling Pope Francis a surprising, but great choice.

A group of church members with the Diocese of Lansing gathered Wednesday to watch the historic events unfold. Few people in the room were familiar with the new Pope, but they're happy to see a leader from Argentina.

"So many Catholics are in Latin America now and it's really going to take the church in the direction that it needs to go while staying true to it's Catholic roots," Christina Carlson said.

Bishop Boyea is also pleased by the choice. He wasn't expecting someone the age of Pope Francis, at 76, or a jesuit, but believes his background and personality will lead the church in the right direction.

"The thing that really impressed me today was his asking the people to pray for him and to give him their blessing, before he blessed them, I thought wow what a powerful message a powerful symbol of that humility," Boyea said.

"I don't think I've felt this emotional about a pope being elected before," Mary Ellen Stevenson said. "But as I see what the world faces today, we're going to need a man who can unite everybody, he's a man who's going to need our prayers, but he's a man that will love because he's Christ."

Boyea says the biggest challenges for the new pope will be curbing the numbers of people leaving the church and leading new evangelization efforts.

No date for the pope's installation mass, the first in his new role, has been set. It will likely be a morning-long affair of pomp and prayer.

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