From kindergarteners at Christ the King School to Catholic Catamounts at the University of Vermont, excitement was in the air as a new chapter for the Catholic Church begins.
Speaking for some 120,000 Vermont Catholics Wednesday afternoon, Bishop Salvatore Matano called the day one of joy -- and one of relief.
"The Diocese of Burlington joins with the universal Church in pledging our heartfelt prayers support and fidelity to our newly elected Holy Father," Matano said.
Tuesday evening the Bishop held mass at the Catholic Center at the University of Vermont. He chose the University, he said, to reach out to what he calls future leaders of the Church.
"Today we witnessed the great ceremonies of the Church stepped in history. And the beauty and solemnity are overwhelming," Matano said while delivering his blessing.
Pope Francis of Argentina is the first non-European Pope in a thousand years.
"The Catholic faith is so vibrant down there," said one church member, James Wicks, a student at Champlain College. "To have a South American come in and now be running our Church is really exciting."
"It will be exciting to see how he can help the Church further go along the path that Jesus Christ wants it go to go," said another parishoner, Hannah Lachance.
Even the youngest of Catholics at Christ the King School in Burlington were caught up in the excitement, even if they didn't fully comprehend its meaning.
"He took off his scarf and he was preaching and some smoke came out," said kindergartener Jared Jordan of the day's events.
"After Pope Benedict sort of retired and stepped down, I was like ‘okay well I want a new Pope," said third grade student Caroline Banks. "And so I found it really interesting that now we have it," Banks said.
It's a new leader of an old religion and the first Jesuit to become the Pontiff.
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