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Archbishop Coakley on new pope: “This is a moment of great joy”

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (March 13, 2013) – At 1:06 p.m. CST today in Vatican City, white smoke rose from the smokestack of the Sistine Chapel, signifying the election of the next pope. Shortly thereafter, from the loggia over St. Peter’s Square, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran – the senior cardinal deacon -- pronounced “Habemus papam!” (“We have a pope!”) and introduced the former Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J., as Pope Francis. From Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas in the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church.

The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said this is a moment of great joy for Catholics in Oklahoma and around the world.

“Ever since Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced his plans to resign, the more than 115,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City have been praying for the cardinal electors and for whomever they would choose as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Coakley said.

“Believing and trusting that the Holy Spirit would guide the conclave, we anticipated this day with great hope and excitement. We are overjoyed and grateful to know the name of the man for whom we have been so ardently praying – Pope Francis, formerly Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Cardinals have delivered a wonderful surprise to the world by choosing a pope from Latin America, a part of the world where the Catholic Church is strong and committed to the New Evangelization.

“In the days leading up to the election, there was understandably much conjecture about who the next pope might be. Coming as it did from all quarters of the globe, the speculation was a powerful reminder that the Church – which was commissioned by Christ to preach the Gospel to all nations – is, indeed, universal, spanning all continents. Today’s election of Pope Francis reminds us that the Church is also one. Christ is the source of our unity – and the pope, as Vicar of Christ, is a visible sign of that unity. With the Catholic faithful from around the world, we rejoice to look to Pope Francis as our Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth.”

Update: This article originally referred to "Pope Francis" as "Pope Francis I." According to guidance from the USCCB, the Roman numeral "I" does not apply unless and until a future pope also selects the name "Francis." The article also identified the new pope as the former "Jorge Maria Cardinal Bergoglio" but Catholic News Service style uses "Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio." Finally, the article referred to Pope Francis as the first non-European pope instead of the first pope from the Americas. The article has been corrected above.