Saturday, May 18 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:25:28 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the campus of the St. Francis of Assisi church and Catholic school in Louisville sits a statue of the well-known saint.
The patron saint from Italy is who Pope Francis took his name from. St. Francis of Assisi was known as a man of great simplicity and compassion.
The church and school in Louisville were also named after the same Saint.
"He was really nice. He was never mean to anybody. I think he chose a really good name," says 10-year-old Natalie Loper.
"Everyone was really excited that there was white smoke coming out and a new Pope being elected," says student Bryce Cadima.
"We waited for the actual name and when we heard the name of the Pope we were even more ecstatic," says Science and Religion teacher Fred Whittaker.
Students and teachers at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School stopped to celebrate when they received word of the new Pope.
Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who serves as vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was also watching closely.
"I was watching TV, and naturally, probably like the rest of you, was waiting for the black smoke. And then when I saw white smoke coming out, I thought maybe I'm seeing things," says Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.
He says it sends a message of unity that the Cardinals came together so quickly, and that Pope Francis is the first Pope from South America.
"I think it's wonderful. I think it's a testimony of the reality of the Universality of the church," says Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.
Some Catholics say they're anxious to see if new Pope will signify anymore changes in the Catholic church.
"I think it would be really good for our church to go back to the early days of the catholic church when priests were married. I think that would be very helpful in having more priests in our parishes," says parent Jennie Merrigan.
On Thursday, Catholics plan to gather and pray for Pope Francis at the Cathedral of the Assumption. The Mass of Thanksgiving will be held at noon.