At St. Gerard Majella Church in Port Jefferson Station, they waited, anxiously watching for the news to pop up on an iPhone. The morning brought puffs of black smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney. They waited some more.
Sometime in the afternoon the moment arrived. White smoke. A new pope to lead the Catholic church.
“Very excited,” said Fay Green, community outreach coordinator at St. Gerard Majella, of the mood inside the church office after they heard the news. “Very uplifted.”
She also said that Monsignor William Hansen, pastor of St. Gerard Majella Church, was "thrilled" that they picked a Jesuit priest in Pope Francis I.
“We were happy because in 2005 when Pope Benedict was chosen Pope Francis came in second,” she said. “We were kind of hoping he would have gotten chosen.”
On Facebook, many readers shared with us that same sense of excitement.
“Happy and hopeful,” said Sheryl Selena Freed. “I am pleased they were able to compromise and agree in such short time, and they did it in time for Easter too! Congress can learn something from this.”
Others were worried that the pick doesn’t show that the Vatican is investing in the type of change many Catholics are looking for the new pontiff to bring to the church.
“He may be a great choice but in a time when change is needed wouldn't a younger pope who can put the time in for change a better choice?” asked Linda Dominick Lombardo.
Denise Sorci-Gehring had a mixed reaction.
“A little disappointed,” she said. “The Catholic church needs to move into modern times. Nothing personal but he is too old and too conservative. I must say quite impressed with how quick the cardinals got it done!”
Continue the conversation. How do you feel about the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina taking on the new role as leader of the Catholic Church in Rome as Pope Francis I? Elated, inspired, disappointed?