An area pastor said Tuesday he thinks the College of Cardinals found the right man to lead the Roman Catholic church.
"I'm delighted," Msgr. Jim Lisante of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park said in an interview with Fox News Channel just minutes after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was introduced to the world as Pope Francis.
The new pontiff appeared on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square and asked the crowd to pray for him soon after the announcement.
"Obviously he's a man of true humility," Lisante said. "I love the fact that he didn't just bless the people from on high but he said to the people, 'pray for me.'"
Later, Lisante told Patch that he felt the name the new pope chose could indicate where he wants to bring his papacy.
"People associate St. Francis of Assisi with the poor or with animals, but people forget that he was the one who told the pope we have to reform the church."
Lisante believes that the election is good news for his parish in Massapequa Park and for Catholics around the world who are weary of the scandals that have plagued the church.
The election of Bergoglio came on the second day of the Conclave, the centuries-old tradition of balloting used by 115 College of Cardinals to elect a successor to the Throne of St Peter. The final ballot was the fifth one, and white smoke appeared over the famed Sistine Chapel at 7:05 p.m. (CET in Rome) or 2:05 p.m. in New York.
The new pope is the first Jesuit elected to lead the church, and Lisante said that can be a plus.
"They have a strong intellectual bent, but he's not so cerebral that he forgets the regular guy," he said. Bergoglio has been praised by church observers for his work with the poor as archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a statement, saying Bishop William Murphy joins" the universal Church in rejoicing in the selection of Francis I as Pope. We give thanks to God for the gift of Pope Francis I, the 266th successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth.
"We join the Church in prayer for our new Holy Father as he begins his new ministry," the statement said.
And another noteworthy Catholic official, Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, wished the new pope well with a Facebook posting saying, "As a proud Jesuit-trained grad of Brooklyn Prep, I look forward to the papacy of Pope Francis. I'm sure all Americans pray for his success."