Local Latinos excited for Pope Francis

Pope Francis is the first Latin American pontiff

Victoria Sanchez, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Anchor/Reporter, victoriasanchez@keyt.com
POSTED: 09:45 PM PDT Mar 13, 2013    UPDATED: 11:33 AM PDT Mar 14, 2013 
Pope Francis
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Wednesday's Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church turned into a celebration for the new pope.

"El primer padre historica es papa!" exclaimed Father Rafael Marin-Leon.

Parishioner Rafaela Canseco was at the bank when she heard the news and watched the television at the branch until the pontiff's name was announced.

"I was very happy because it's the first Latino. So, we made history," she said with a laugh.

But that is not the only mark Pope Francis will make in the history books. His name alone is a first, and he's also the first Jesuit priest to be chosen for the top spot. His native tongue is already connecting him with fellow Spanish-speaking Christians.

"Gracias especialmente a Dios, ya todos catolicos felicidades. Gracias!" said Gloria Botello. "Thank you especially to God and congratulations to all the Catholics!"

The new pope addressed the crowd of thousands at St. Peter's Square and even more worldwide. His first impression that was felt here at home was one of humbleness.

"Honestly, when I saw him I thought, 'Goodness, he reminds me of Pope John Paul II.' Just that spiritually in his face," said Letty Gonzalez.

The Argentinian pontiff is the 266th spiritual leader of the Catholic Church and it is hoped to unite its 1.2 billion members across the world.

"I think it'll make a huge difference and connect people a lot more, more willingness to come to church. I think it will unite the community a lot better," Anthony Rodriguez.

The parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe said they will keep him in their prayers as Pope Francis takes on his new role.