Hispanic Houstonians celebrate first Latin American pope

Parishioners gather for mass at St. Anne's Catholic Church

HOUSTON - Thousands of miles away from Rome at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Houston, Hispanic parishioners gathered Wednesday evening for mass.

However, the night was a little different. The service began with an announcement for those who may not have seen a historic event play out at St. Peter's Square on televisions and social media.

The priest at St. Anne's told the congregation that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglia of Argentina was the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and had taken the name Francis the First.

With that title, Francis the First became the first pope from Latin America. It was a thrill for many Hispanic parishioners who said they see themselves in the new pope.

Related: Clergy: Choice of pope symbolic to Houston Hispanics

"I'm very proud," said Isavel Vazquez. "[It's] amazing."

"I feel like that's good," said Griselda Corea. "We're getting ahead. Hispanics are taking a step forward."

Francis the First has been known as a humble man in his home country of Argentina, living in a simple apartment, cooking his own meals and visiting the poor.

These are qualities parishioners said they admired. With heads bowed, many thanked the Lord and prayed for the success of the Catholic Church under the helm of Francis the First.

"I look forward to all new good things," said Patty Angel.

"Were just going to pray that everything goes well and he does have a lot of great moments of being the pope," said Corea.

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