ST. PAUL, Minn. - What was normally an everyday mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul Wednesday evening , turned into a once in a lifetime celebration for local Catholics.
Roughly 200 people attended mass, many thinking of the thousands in a distant land who witnessed history when Pope Francis I was elected as the new pope.
"May our prayers be joined today and in the coming days for our new Holy Father," said Father Peter Laird, Vicar General of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic Archdiocese.
"Faith is the key in understanding what has happened to us Catholics today. Faith is the root of the office of Peter," added Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche.
Both men addressed the faithful who attended the service. Piche presided over the mass in place of Archbishop John Neinstedt who was at a previously scheduled engagement, celebrating the retirement of the president of University of St. Thomas.
And while inside the Cathedral looked and felt like a traditional worship service, outside all bets were off. Some were cheering, others honking their horns as news spread about the new Pope being named.
"I said its black, wait its white," said Kate Choals of St. Paul after watching he smoke billow on television signifying a new pope. "And the kids all started yelling."
Choals and her five children watched the news coverage in the afternoon and then attended Wednesday evening's mass.
"It's a hard world right now and we're all looking for answers. We're certainly looking for answers," she said.
She believes those answers will come with the church's new leader, a selection she's thrilled about, and so where others who spoke to KARE 11 as they left church.
"It's wonderful and it's refreshing," said Kathleen McConville of St. Paul.
She believes the new pope will bring about transparent change she feels the Catholic Church so desperately needs.
"And he's humble and hopefully we'll become more humble because of that," she added.
Still others were more cautious.
"I hope for just a new life and a breath of fresh air and get the cloud over the Catholic faith right now lifted," said Jessica Miller of New Prague.
And while there were mixed emotions outside the cathedral in St. Paul, people seemed to have a shared sense of hope about their new leader.
"He's just one of us. And he's our leader. And that's what he is supposed be," said McConville.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)