Argentina celebrates the pope's first Sunday

(CBS News) BUENOS AIRES - Far from Rome, Argentinians were celebrating their fellow countryman's first Sunday as the leader of the world's Catholics -- the first pope to come from the Americas.

The faithful spilled beyond the pews of the city's Metropolitan Cathedral. Analia and Daniel Arcos had arrived early with their three daughters, but by the time Mass began, found their seats surrounded and their view nearly blocked.

Three-year-old Lujon, waving a Vatican flag, perched on her dad's shoulders to get a look. The family usually attends church near their home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, but felt compelled to be here today.

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"My heart is exploding with joy," Analia told CBS News in Spanish. "I can't explain the emotion I've felt since Wednesday. I was jumping, shouting and crying. It was inexplicable. It's one of the great joys of my life."

So many attended mass, the archdiocese set up an overflow area where the crowd watched on a giant television screen.

Pablo La Porta, an 88-year-old opera singer, carried a group picture from a concert last year, showing him and the future pope together.

"I ended up singing 'Oh Sole Mio,' and he came to shake my hand and congratulated me," La Porta said in Spanish. "He told me I was very talented. To be here, for me, is very satisfying."

Catholics and Buenos Aires spill on to the street because so many came to the city's Metropolis Cathedral
Catholics and Buenos Aires spill on to the street because so many came to the city's Metropolis Cathedral
CBS News

Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, the Vatican's ambassador to Argentina, said God had entrusted Pope Francis with a difficult mission as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

"Today, dear brothers, we promise to continue praying for our Pope Francis," the archbishop said.

Next up is the pope's inauguration on Tuesday. He made clear to his countrymen he does not want them traveling to Rome for the ceremony, and is asking them instead to donate that money to the poor.

On Tuesday, schools here in Buenos Aires will be closed, so that students throughout the city can attend a celebration and watch party at the plaza across from the cathedral.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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