GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY- - Church bells rang out at St. Peters Catholic Church shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday after white smoke was seen billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.
Greenville residents outside the St. Peter's Catholic School waited anxiously for the new pope to be revealed.
Bob Connolly said he wasn't surprised how quickly the cardinals came to a decision. He "knew there was just a matter of time." Joyce Stanley said she hopes "that he brings the church together, you know keeps it together, united and we move on."
Michelle Trinidad, originally from Mexico, said she was "just waiting for a person who is with God, a leader, so I just pray for a good one."
After the announcement that former archbishop of Beunos Aires and cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was to be the first ever pope Francis, father Justin Kerber of St. Peter's said he was "totally surprised. I remember when John Paul died I was hoping that this man might become the pope." He continued, saying the Catholic Church now has "a pope who isn't known for being a liberal or a conservative or he's just known a man of great goodness of life and just great love for the people."
Father Kerber said he didn't expect the cardinals to appoint pope Francis, because pope "Benedict mentioned that he wanted to hand the reigns over to a younger more vital man." He continued, saying though pope Francis is 76, "he must be in good health."