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North Texas Catholics Call Election of New Pope "A Wonderful Day In The Life Of The Church"

Pope Francis I CBS News (12)
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – "What a great day!"

Those were the first words of Bishop Kevin Farrell at the Diocese of Dallas, as he celebrated the election of Pope Francis I.

Bishop Farrell says although the Cardinal from Argentina wasn't even on his top ten list, he rejoiced at the election, calling the Pope an inspiring choice who will appeal to Latinos in North Texas.

"I think that the people of the Diocese will hear him, will understand him, and will feel that he is very much their father, their spiritual guide. So I feel he will bring much enthusiasm in the Latin people," said Bishop Farrell.

Monsignor Michael Olson, rector of the Holy Trinity Catholic Seminary in Irving emphasized the significance of the election of a Pope from Latin America.  Latinos make up nearly half of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

WATCH: Monsignor Michael Olson Talk About Pope Francis

As Olson watched television coverage of the first public appearance by Pope Francis I, Olson observed his holiness and humbleness.

"It was evident as he asked people to pray for him," said Olson.

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Olson also noted the significance of the name Francis for the new leader of the Catholic Church.  He notes it is a very popular, common name of a universally loved saint, who is loved for his closeness to Christ.

That sentiment is also shared by Monsignor Stephen Berg of the Fort Worth Diocese.  "Saint Francis is probably the closest to a universal saint for all churches and all peoples.  He's revered by people of all denominations."

WATCH: Monsignor Stephen Berg Talk About Pope Francis

At Saint Patrick's Cathedral Church in Fort Worth, members were surprised the vote came so quickly.

"I'm excited it's over.  And I just hope the Holy Spirit was with them, and they did the right thing," said church member Alieen Neil.

"With what's going on right now, we need a strong leader," said church member Mark Puente. "With all the controversy going on I think that's the most important thing he needs to focus on is taking care of that."

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