Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, others react to election of Pope Francis I

CLEVELAND - Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon and other area leaders react to the election of Pope Francis I

Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday and chose the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Read local reaction below from area leaders:
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Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon:

Thank God for our new Holy Father. The election of Pope Francis brings new leadership to the Catholic Faithful here in the Diocese of Cleveland and around the world. Francis is the new name chosen by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, we pray that his word and example inspire and guide the Church. I ask for the prayers of all people in the Diocese of Cleveland, Catholics as well as of our brothers and sisters of other religious convictions, that the Lord give our new shepherd a spirit of courage, right judgment, knowledge, and love. 

I also pray that Pope Francis may be a champion of the poor, a reconciler of nations, and a force for peace and unity in our world. 

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U.S.  Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Pope Benedict XVI inspired us with his unwavering commitment to faith during, as he put it, "today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith."

The election of Pope Francis I is a jubilant occasion for millions of Catholics in Ohio and around the world, and I join them in welcoming this new faith leader.

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"This is the church I want to give my life to and this is the man who is in charge of it. So very, very excited for this," said Eric Garris who is studying to be a priest.

"I cant believe we have a pope from our little country. It is awesome," Sister Marcela Machiccot said, who is orginally from Argentina.

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Doris Donnelly, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University

"He is the closest moderate we have to representing the global south with balance and with intelligence.

The pope chose the name Francis, a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi. Donnelly thinks Pope Francis will bring to the papacy many of those attributes.

"It conjures poverty, it conjures concern about the poor, it conjures concern about the marginalized, the oppressed. That name was chosen by a person who is so committed to those values."

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