SHARECOMMENTMORE

By Elizabeth Matthews

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - None may be happier about the selection of Pope Francis than a parish in south city.

St. Cecilia's is a personal parish that caters to all Hispanics in the St. Louis area. Parishioners there are shocked, in disbelief and proud.

The parishioners of St. Cecilia's are still pinching themselves as Fr. Anthony Ochoa says the pope is "one of them."

It was unexpected, but a welcomed surprise. At St. Cecilia's parishioners speak Spanish, come from all walks of life, and come from all over the county to worship there.

"It's a very joyful day for all of the Hispanics," said parishioner Marvin Castro.

"I feel proud and happy and our prayers have been answered," said another parishioner, Emma Payne.

"It's the same blood and there's a lot of a sense of ownership, he's our brother, he's our father, he's our uncle," said Fr. Ochoa.

He explains that his parish of more than 3,000 is 99 percent Hispanic. Fr. Ochoa says like the rest of the world, the cardinal from Argentina was not on his short list.

"I had to look it up on my phone and because I hear Bergoglio and so I figured it was Italian and I didn't remember if he was from Milan or from Genoa, and then I realized he was from Buenos Aires and everyone in the office just erupted in joy," said the Father.

Castro says he's excited for a Hispanic pope, but in the end it doesn't matter.

"Just do the good thing for the whole world," said Castro.

Fr. Ochoa says this will give a boost of energy to the Catholic Hispanic population, even in his St. Louis parish.

"It's not just an old man from Italy, it's an old man from Argentina and so there will be great devotion and great tenderness on behalf of the people here at the parish," said Fr. Ochoa who has something in common with the pope.

Pope Francis is the first Latino pope and the father is the first and only Latino priest for the St. Louis Archdiocese.