CREATED Mar. 13, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Watching and waiting the announcement of a new pope - Argentinians eating at a local restaurant were first surprised and then proud to learn they share the same nationality as the latest leader of the Catholic Church.
"Las Vegas - it's not a big Argentine community, but it's cool that he's from South America and represent South American people," Christian Oldan said. He moved to Las Vegas from Argentina 13 years ago and believes the new pope will do a better job representing a global church.
According to the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas, Latinos make up 34 percent of local Catholics.
"The new pope will raise people up because he's from Argentina and he can express himself in Spanish," Luis Frias, who moved to Las Vegas from Argentina 30 years ago, said.
Not only is the pope's election a milestone for Latinos, but Las Vegas Bishop Joseph A. Pepe said the pope's message of living a simple life and giving to the poor will help connect with Catholics.
"I think the cardinals were looking for someone with religious simplicity and a sense of Christ in their lives and he live that," the bishop said.
Bishop Pepe will lead Las Vegas Catholics with direction from the pope who has a heavy task at hand.
"Hopefully the church can move on and start taking care of today's problems," parishioner, Dave Steinwert, said.
"There is a lot of dismay in the Catholic Church so right now he has a big job," parishioner Barbara Buschman said. "I'm sure he will get support from all the other cardinals."
On March 19th the diocese plans to hold a local celebration for the new pope.