Latino Catholics react to Pope Francis I

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Cheers greeting Pope Francis I turned to silent prayers for the world’s first pontiff from South America.

Catholic Latinos in Utah, like Joe Gallegos, flocked to church. A portrait of Pope Francis I was displayed during Wednesday evening mass at the Cathedral of Madeline.

“I feel blessed for witnessing this today,” Gallegos said. “With the Latin population, it was time to bring a Latin Pope.”

Maritza and Jorge Arce-Larreta couldn’t agree more. Like Pope Francis I, the couple is from South America.

“I felt like my prayers have been answered,” Jorge Arce-Larreta said.

Maritza said the choice if very significant because there are many Catholics in Central and South America. About 40 percent of all Catholics are Latino.

Pope Francis I, a Jesuit, is formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“He’s a reformer,” Arce-Larreta said. “He’s going to bring people closer to the church and he’s going to look after the poor people all over the world.”

Gallegos agreed and said he felt blessed to see such a milestone in the Catholic Church.

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