AUSTIN -- After the papal announcement leaders with Austin Diocese gave their reactions.
Wednesday afternoon Bishop Joe Vasquez weighed in on the new pope. He said the fact that Pope Francis is from Latin America and is Spanish speaking is especially exciting for parishioners in Austin.
Around 1:30 p.m., the bells of Saint Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin rang out soon after the white smoke was first spotted.
Dozens of Catholics gathered at the Austin Diocese to watch the announcement from Rome on a big screen TV.
They also wanted to hear Bishop Vasquez speak. He said that the new pope is a humble man who lives simply, and he will connect well with the 40 percent of Catholics who are Latino.
"Definitely since he speaks Spanish that's also very important to me being Mexican-American descent. That, to me, is very important because I think that will appeal to any Latinos and Hispanics. He is going to understand the heart of the Latino and Hispanic, and that will be very inviting," said Bishop Vasquez.
Bishop Vasquez will hold mass at the cathedral on Thursday at noon to celebrate the new pope.
Parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish celebrated the new pontiff on Wednesday evening. The congregation offers mass in both English and Spanish, and welcomes the new leader.
"I'm looking forward to calling my mother who only speaks Spanish and get her take on things because she will be very excited about this for sure," said Alfredo Nevarez.