"I feel much closer to God now with a Latin American Pope in the Vatican," expressed Aladino Rodriguez."
St. Francis Church of the Annunciation on Norton Street parishioners are holding their regularly scheduled soup dinner as part of Lent. Mario Escalante moved from El Salvador to Rochester in 1981.
He thought he'd never live to see a Latin American Pope.
"We are seeing our own blood there and that is very significant."
Kathy DiMaria is a parishioner from Our Lady of the Americas on Main Street.
She's proud Pope Francis has both Latin American and Italian heritage too.
"It's a new day in the church hopefully. There are lots of things that need to be dealt with and I think we need to move forward and no longer take steps backward."
Kathy said she's seen the catholic population dwindle over the years and hopes the new pope can bring back Catholics who have strayed from their faith.
"We need to focus on why we're losing people and he needs to help us to bring people back to the church," she added.
Catholics say what better way than with a new pope and the power of prayer.
"We have to thank God that this is happening and hope that it's for the better," Mario said.