For the first time in a millennium, a man outside of Europe has been selected as head of the Catholic church.
Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected to replace Benedict XVI as pope.
Bergoglio, who has taken the name Pope Francis, is the first pontiff from the Americas, and a Jesuit, appeared before the massive cheers of the thousands of faithful to watch history unfold.
In East Texas, the faithful were also watching.
Bishop Strickland learned who the new pope is like most of us - around a computer while he was at work.
And after learning Pope Francis is from Argentina, Bishop Strickland called his installation a great sign of vitality for the more than 1 billion Catholics around the world.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of commentary on the fact that this is the first pope from the new world. I think that's a great sign. Here we are in this new millennium, a few years into it, and the new pope from Argentina, from the Americas, is a great sign of that vitality, I believe," said Bishop Strickland.
In Tyler, the bells rang and the traditional white and gold bunting was hung at the Catholic Diocese in honor of the new pope.
Sitting next to a statue of Saint Francis, Bishop Strickland reflected on the name the new pope chose.
"I think especially with the name Francis, that great story of St. Francis in his early life getting that mandate to rebuild God's house, and I'm sure there will be a lot of commentary on the pope choosing the first time in history," Strickland said.
And as Pope Francis prayed in Rome, Bishop Strickland encouraged all people of faith to keep the new pope in our prayers.
"He's got a tremendous job, a tremendous task before him, but I think it's a beautiful sign of what our faith is, really, that Christ promised that His spirit would guide the church and be with the church until the end of time," said Strickland.
"I think it's joyful to see this smooth transition in an orderly way," he added. "Benedict XVI's, Pope Emeritus now, his retirement took us all by surprise, but today is a joyful day for me and for all Catholics that the church and her mission continues."
The church now enters a time of celebration - traditional white and gold papal bunting will stay up at Catholic churches and dioceses all over the world for the next week or until Pope Francis is installed - whichever happens first.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:33 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:33:11 GMT
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