Catholics around the world saw the white smoke on Wednesday, as Pope Francis I was named the successor of Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina, will be taking the name of Francis, and in East Hampton, the Rev Msgr. Donald Hanson, of Most Holy Trinity Church, reacted to the news.
"I didn't think it would be this early," Hanson said. "I thought it would take a longer time to sort it out."
The Pope is the first leader of the Catholic Church to take the name Francis, as well as the first from Latin America.
"His choice of the names Francis is very striking," Hanson went on. "Francis of Assisi had this vision where he heard Jesus on the Cross say to him, 'Francis renew my church.' That is certainly apt for this day and age when the church is in pretty bad shape with all of its scandals, internally and externally, so that bodes well."
Known in Argentina for living a very humble life-style, the cardinal has been known for residing in a small apartment, preparing his own meals and refusing the cardinal's limo in favor of public transportation. He is also the first ever Jesuit pope.
"I'm very excited about the new possibilities," he said. "I wish him well and I pray for him because he's got a tough job ahead of him."
Hanson said he does not see any immediate impacts for local parishioners. "He's got to clean house at headquarters. I think it seems he has a track record as a good leader and I think he will have more personal appeal than Benedict had because he was a total introvert and a student, and didn't have the common touch that John Paul II had. I'm hoping he will be a warmer figure. I don't expect any sudden or immediate changes in things."
Hanson had hoped the new Pope would be "somebody who is going to bring hope to the world, encourage people," which he thinks Francis will.
Online, local Patch readers expressed their own opinions as well, with some applauding his humble roots, and others noting what they see as weaknesses in the church's leader.
"At 76 he's too old to foster any real change in the Church and there appears to be little daylight between his conservative views and those held by his predecessor," David Kozatch wrote. Heather Dunn-Kostura found his views on homosexuality disappointing.
Though Bob Tucker wrote a line familiar to many New Yorkers: "Hip hip Jorge!"