WOOLMARKET, MS (WLOX) - The pageantry outside St. Peter's Square, right after the announcement that Pope Francisis now the 266th pope, foreshadowed the jubilance later during mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Woolmarket. Music and celebration filled the sanctuary.
Outside, the church sign read, "Habemus Papam," which means, "We have a pope."
St. Mary Catholic church celebrated its first mass with Pope Francis as holy father.
"We begin praying for him as a Church and I'm just excited about just saying we pray for Pope Francis for the first time," said Msgr. Dominick Fullam.
The perpetual delight was overflowing from the moment when they found out who their new leader would be.
"I was very excited," said Jeanne Orr.
"Oh, I was excited," said Charlotte Randazzo.
"I was surprised as was most people because we thought it would be a lot longer," said Jim Duggan.
The new pope was chosen against a background of turbulence and strife. He is now leader of the church at time when that role could be tough. Clerical sex abuse scandals raise questions and uncertainty fill people minds.
Still, the faithful remain hopeful in their new leader.
"He is the chosen one and he seems like he'll be a good pope," said Duggan.
"He will be a humble person and help with the reforms the church might need," said Randazzo.
Pope Francis is believed to have been the runner up in the last Papal Conclave in 2005. Now, his journey as pope begins and Catholics have their own predictions about the kind of spiritual leadership he will possess.
"He's so humble," said Orr.
"Man on the street, a person who took the bus to work," said Msgr. Dominick Fullam.
The process to elect a new pope began with prayer weeks ago. Now, as Pope Francis begins his journey, prayer will be just as prevalent by people across the world who so adamantly support their new holy father.
"Pope Francis, we wish you the very best and our prayers are with you," said Msgr. Dominick Fullam.
"Thank you for saying yes to God," said Orr.