March 13, 2013
Catholics in Charlottesville say they are very excited about the election of Pope Francis.
"Very happy day for us," said Ben-David Warner, an employee at St. Thomas Aquinas. "Just filled with joy."
They are also surprised with how quickly the cardinals made their decision and who they chose.
"From what I understand he wasn't one of the top 20 that many people were talking about," said Father Stephen Alcott, the U.Va. Campus Minister.
But now everyone is talking about Pope Francis, especially because he is the first pope to come from South America.
"I think it's really neat," said Warner. "It will give Catholics in America the sense that the pope is not so far away."
"I'm hopeful," said Eric Schmalz, a high school teacher. "Based on what I've read so far, he's someone who could do a lot of good for the church."
They are hopeful that he will handle issues the church is dealing with like the sex abuse scandal.
"It would be good if Pope Francis could maybe address this head on," said Schmalz.
They also expect the new pontiff to help move the church forward by seeking new converts.
"I think it means that we're going to see reaching out through evangelization," said Father Alcott.
"This is a good opportunity for the church to say, 'Yes we are aware of what's going on in modern times,'" said Schmalz.