South coast residents react to announcement of new pope

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Many people at St. Monica's Catholic Church were actually in a mid-day service when the new pope was named.

As all eyes were on the Vatican Wednesday, as local members of Saint Monica's Catholic Church in Coos Bay walked out of mid-day mass, to news that a new pope had been selected.

Some people say he isn't like any of the others before him.

Cecilia Evoniuk, a member of the Catholic church, says she couldn't be more excited. "I'm just so happy I can hardly stand it," she said. "Finally we have, well we had John Paul, who was Polish, and we were happy about that, but we've had so many Italian priests that I think it's a wonderful thing."

Father Robert Wolf says it is a good time for the church. "I just heard the news myself," he said. "I'm excited to have a new pope, to get to know him, and the world gets to know him, and I think it'll be a good time for us, very good."

Pope Francis I is already bringing energy to a church some say needs a new face.

The new pope, a Cardinal from Argentina, who has shown sympathy to those addicted to drugs and suffering from HIV-AIDS, is expected to bring together both liberal and conservative church members for much needed changes.

Local church members say it is an exciting time. "I'm really happy that someone from the new world will finally get the position," said Mikki Karroll. "I hope he brings some new ideas, and I image that he's probably a very charismatic man that'll give us a little energy maybe. I hope."

Catholic church history tells us God told Saint Francis to build him a church. Initially, Saint Francis thought that meant a physical building with rocks and mortar, but he later discovered that it was about bringing people together.

Many people told KCBY News on Wednesday, that they expect Pope Francis to bring the church together and into the 21st century.