Catholics around the world were glued to their televisions Wednesday afternoon as the new Pope of the Catholic Church was named.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — who will be known as Pope Francis I — was selected as Pope for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Here in Hamilton, the Catholic community was ready to celebrate, with the announcement coming at a fortunate time, according to Monsignor Murray Kroetsch of the Hamilton Diocese.
"We have a great feast coming up on Tuesday: the feast of St. Joseph. Not only is St. Joseph the patron saint of Canada, but also the unification of our church," he said. "It's very good timing."
Kroetsch said the Hamilton Diocese, like many around the world, was surprised by the new leader, a Jesuit from Argentina.
"But it wouldn't matter who it was, we would have been surprised," he added.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name Francis, the first Pope to do so, which was a significant choice according to Kroetsch.
"St. Francis is known and beloved by many people, Catholics, Christians and non-Christians. He was a man of deep faith, a man who loved poverty and a man of humility," he said.
"It sounds like, from what I've been hearing in the news, our new holy father embodies all of this, which is a great gift to the church."
The new name, and the fact that the Pope is the first Jesuit to hold the position, all signal positive change in the church, he added.
"It signals a new and exciting beginning for his papacy."
The Hamilton Twitter community reacted a little differently, mostly turning to humour while watching the day unfold: