Hispanic community reacts to election of Pope Francis - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hispanic community reacts to election of Pope Francis

Lidia Niederkorn, Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah Lidia Niederkorn, Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Roman Catholics across the world are still celebrating the announcement of their new leader, Pope Francis. For the millions of Roman Catholics of Latin American descent, Pope Francis represents the beginning of a new era.

More than one billion people belong to the Roman Catholic faith, and nearly 500 million of them live in Latin America. WTOC spoke with Lidia Niederkorn, Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah, and she said she was absolutely thrilled when she saw the white smoke coming out of the Vatican on Wednesday. She was even more thrilled when she found out Pope Francis is from Argentina.

Niederkorn was born in El Salvador, and said Pope Francis can show the rest of the world how "vibrant" and "joyful" the Church is in Latin America.

"For Latin America, we're just full of joy, we're happy for the Hispanics here in the United States. This is a big moment because he recognizes how much we bring to the Church."

Pope Francis is the only Pope to choose the name Francis, and Niederkorn said this means he's committed to the poor, just like St. Francis of Assisi.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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