When the news broke Wednesday afternoon, Monsignor Domenick T. Graziadio rang the church bells of St. Pius X R.C. Church in Plainview.
They rang along with all the church bells in Rome, and from steeples around the world, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named the new Pope.
Pastor Graziadio said he was "elated" with the choice of the Argentine archbishop, a member of the Society of Jesus, or "The Jesuits," who took the name Pope Francis I.
"He is a very good choice," said Graziadio. "He is a very prayerful man, a member of the religious order, the community of the Jesuits, and the first non European (in the modern era.)"
And that, said Graziadio, is significant to the Catholic world, which is at a historic juncture of expansion into Latin America. Graziadio sees the new pope as a humble man -- one who bowed as he asked for the prayers of the faithful in St. Peter's Square Wednesday. That kind of humility will speak volumes to the Catholic faithful and beyond.
"He took the name of St. Francis of Assisi and that is very significant," Graziadio said. "As a cardinal this man sold his palace, got rid of his chauffeur and began taking the tram to work every day."
The election of Bergoglio came on the second day of the Conclave, the centuries-old tradition of balloting used by 115 College of Cardinals to elect a successor to the Throne of St Peter. The final ballot was the fifth one, and white smoke appeared over the famed Sistine Chapel at 7:05 p.m. (CET in Rome) or 2:05 p.m. in New York.
That role known as the Vicar of Christ became vacant last month when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, citing his age and infirmity.
According to Catholic tradition, the newly appointed Bishop of Rome is the 266th successor of St. Peter and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church of 1.2 billion Catholics.
Monsignor Graziadio will say Mass tonight at 7:30 p.m. and is expecting a big crowd to celebrate in the new pope's election, he said.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a statement, saying Bishop William Murphy joins" the universal Church in rejoicing in the selection of Francis I as Pope. We give thanks to God for the gift of Pope Francis I, the 266th successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth.
"We join the Church in prayer for our new Holy Father as he begins his new ministry," the statement said.
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