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Local Catholics pray for the new pope

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Albany/HV: Local Catholics pray for the new pope
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There's a new head of the Catholic Church. Formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina is now Pope Francis. What do Catholics think about having him at the helm? Our Megan Cruz spoke to some attending morning mass Thursday to find out.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A first for parishioners here at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament: praying for Pope Francis instead of Pope Benedict.

"It felt very good!" said Father Daniel Quinn, associate pastor at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Albany. "It was very exciting. I didn't expect to have a new pope so quickly."

It took just two days and five votes.

Parishioners we spoke to say he's the answer to their prayers.

"There's just a warmth about him. And there's just something magical when he started talking," said parishioner Joanne Criscione-McTague. "You know his humility - it's just wonderful."

"I like the fact that he's on the side of the poor, on the side of the downtrodden. Because that's what really we're taught to do as Christians," said Innocent Ake, another parishioner.

Character traits the new pope shares with his namesake: St. Francis of Assisi. The faithful hoping this helps him follow in the saint's footsteps of rebuilding the Catholic Church, which has recently been tarnished by a number of sex abuse scandals.

"I know a lot of the bishops and clergy and concerned about different things going on in Rome and want it cleaned up and I think being an outsider he can probably do that," said Father Quinn.

"I think that gives us all an opportunity to take a fresh look at things and make up for some of the errors made in the past," said parishioner Lorenz Worden.

Pope Francis is the first non-European pope since the eighth century. Even more significant: he's the first ever pope from Latin America.

"He's from Argentina, he's from the Western Hemisphere where there are many, many Catholics," said Worden. "His viewpoint may be a little different than the popes we've had."

So far though, it seems like he shares more conservative views like his predecessor. He's been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, abortion, and contraception.

"That's just consistency with the church's tradition," said Father Quinn.

"I think it's still too early to judge that, there's always surprises with the pope," said Worden.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis will be formally installed at a mass on Tuesday. He'll be the 266th Bishop of Rome.

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