Catholics in Jacksonville react to new pope

Church members speak about excitement surrounding Pope Francis

Published On: Mar 13 2013 10:09:48 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2013 12:20:31 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For many Catholics in Jacksonville, the new pope means a new direction for the Catholic church.

At Christ the King Catholic Church on Arlington Road, church members prepared for a meeting with a west coast missionary Wednesday night.

As they waited for the meeting to begin, church members spoke about the excitement surrounding Pope Francis.

"Being Catholic, it's exciting," said Gus Carlson. "I'm glad it didn't take longer than several days."

"I was jubilant. Just fantastic," said Lois Anne Isabelle. "(I've) been watching TV to make sure I was there, at least on TV, when it happened."

The announcement of the new pope spurred excitement around the world, and enthusiasm grew with the name he chose.

"I had a hunch, his name, that we might have the right person," said Father Terry Morgan. "Couldn't understand Latin, but I understand at the end, 'and he chooses to be named - Francis.'"

Morgan told Channel 4 he sees a connection for Pope Francis taking the name of revered St. Francis of Assisi. Morgan said he can envision this Francis the First, being a reformer like his namesake.

"St. Francis' entire new approach with Franciscan order was like a lightning bolt from Almighty God," said Morgan. "Am I expecting a lightning bolt by St. Patrick's Day? No. We're going to be surprised by this pope, just as we're surprised by every pope."

"Peter being the first pope, so Francis being a descendant of Peter," said Carlson. "So it's very exciting, look forward to seeing fresh new ideas."