Mid-Missourians are sharing their thoughts on the election of a new leader of the Catholic Church.
"He is our supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, so it's quite a big deal," Nancy Keating, of Jefferson City, said of Pope Francis. "From what I've seen so far, he's a humble man that will probably care very deeply about every decision he makes and every person that he has responsibility for."
Not only does Pope Francis's election follow the unprecedented resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, but it also marks the first election of a pope from the Americas.
"I think the emphasis is being placed on other countries that have been there, but now seem to be more of a vocal point in international affairs," Father Ignazio Medina of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church said.
Pope Francis inherits challenges within the Catholic Church from the retired Benedict.
"The numbers of vocations, and people not going to church, and the sex abuse crisis, things like that. You also have the challenge of our people trying to live out gospel values in the midst of a world, a culture, that is absolutely inimical to the gospel," Bishop John Gaydos of the Diocese of Jefferson City said.
Bishop Gaydos also said he believes the Pope chose the name Francis to pay homage to Saint Francis of Assisi's humble nature and rebuilding of the Catholic Church.
"There were many problems in the church both in the leadership and among the people. People picking and choosing how they wanted to live what they wanted to believe, less fervent leadership coming from those who should be leading," Bishop Gaydos said of Saint Francis.
Mid-Missourians have high hopes for the new leader.
"Humanitarian as well as concern for others is gonna be a driving force because of his humility," Father Medina said.
"From what I've seen so far, he's a humble man that will probably care very deeply about every decision he makes and every person that he has responsibility for," Keating said.