BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many Catholics WJZ spoke with say the selection of Pope Francis is a sign of change for the future of the church.

Meghan McCorkell has more.

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Bells ring and bunting is up in Baltimore as a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church is chosen.

“I think we all look to the Holy Father as a spiritual father, as the moral voice, as someone who sets a tone for the church,” said Archbishop William Lori.

Catholics young and old are rejoicing.

“Amazing!” said Jonathan Scholtes, who’s 7 years old.

Many came together to pray for Pope Francis during a special Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, each with their own hopes for the new Pontiff.

“There are absolutely issues to take on but I think a good and humble holy man can probably do that,” said Matt McDaniel.

“As a faith, we really want to get more Catholics back into the church,” said Chris Scholtes.

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“I’m hoping he’s a little more modern and still holds to the traditions of the church but is not quite so restrictive or conservative,” said Diane York.

The selection of a pope from Latin America was especially exciting at Saint Patrick in Fells Point, where most of the parishioners are Hispanic.

“To have a Hispanic pope, that’s the next step up for us,” said Kathy Rodriguez.


“Tremendous shot in the arm to say we count. We’re here,” said Father Robert Wojtek.

Agostina Turchetti is from Argentina and was confirmed by the new pope.

“He used to come to my church very often, so anyone you know that becomes a pope…it’s just amazing,” said Agostina Turchetti.

Now she and the rest of the faith are praying for their new leader.

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Another Mass of Thanksgiving for the new pope will be held this Sunday.