SARASOTA - As Catholics in Argentina celebrated on the streets of Buenos Aires, Latino Catholics on the Suncoast attended mass, praying for the new Pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first Latin-American Cardinal selected to lead the Catholic Church. He is from Argentina.
"It has been a great surprise for our church and all of the entire Hispanic-American community," said Rev. Teo Mata, with St. Jude Catholic Church in Sarasota. "I was actually getting a haircut when I learned the news, and I could not contain the tears. It was a very emotional and very joyful moment."
St. Jude is made up primarily of Latino families.
"The members of this Church will identify themselves with him. It's a great joy because there will be a common factor between the community and him."
Jose Pintos, a member of the Church, is a native of Mendoza, Argentina. He says he and his family back home are ecstatic over the news.
"We know him. We have heard about him and we have see his work throughout the years. We know he has a great connection with the poor and he works with the people that really need him. That's what he focuses his work on," said Pintos.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40% of the world's Catholics are located in North or South America. Brazil has the most with 130 million Catholics. There are 74 million located in the United States.