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Local priests and laymen react to election of Pope Francis

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

It was a Saturday spent on how to make a difference in the world.

700 Catholic men gathered in a variety of small groups and workshops at the SeaGate Centre in downtown Toledo for spiritual development.

As can be expected perhaps, they were also buzzing about the big news this week in the church: the election of Pope Francis.

They believe cardinals made the right decision.

"He's a Jesuit priest. Which is new. It's awesome," said Chris Russell.

"I am delighted by Pope Francis. I just think he is inviting us to a kind of humility and sense of evangelism that is so important for all of us, not just Catholics," added Greg Schlueter.

Priests at the conference say Pope Francis made a good first impression.

The Pope appeared before thousands of people waiting to see him in a rainy St. Peters Square.

Normally, a new Pope meets first with the cardinals who elected him.

"His sense of being approachable and with the people is something the papacy has needed ever since I can remember," said Rev. Ed Littelmann.

"Our hemisphere. South of the Equator. He's humble and thoughtful to the people," said Rev. Paul Kwiatkowski.

But that personality may not mean change for the Catholic church.

"I think he's going to give us a fresh approach to things. I don't think he can change it automatically just by being himself," said Rev. Jim Brown.

Still, there were high marks for Pope Francis from local Catholic men who believe he has the faith and courage to lead them.

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