Pope Francis is fresh off his first day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Eyewitness News visits with a Utica Catholic Church, where they are welcoming history and have an eye on the future.
A surprise but also an extreme joy, is two ways to describe Jorge Bergoglio's election as pope.
Father Mark Kaminski of Saint Anthony's and Saint Agnes Church in Utica says Bergoglio's selection is an "interesting move, for someone who was not on any list. As the old saying goes, whoever walks into the conclave as pope usually walks out as a cardinal."
But, Jorge Bergoglio and now Pope Francis has defied the odds, making history. He's the first ever Latin American pope and the first pontiff to select the name "Francis." Kaminski says he "believes there is a deep significance regarding the name he has picked. Francis was the one who received a call from God in the 13th century that you're going to rebuild my church, so there is a lot of significance here."
Pope Francis gave his first homily as pontiff yesterday. He celebrated mass with the cardinals who elected him, all of whom reside over a church that has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse by priests, corruption, and infighting. Despite this, Kaminski says Francis can proudly carry on the Catholic tradition.
"The gospel message is so ancient, 2,000 years of Christianity, but nevertheless it's still relevant. We're not stuck in the past, we have something to offer to a contemporary person and that was also the vision of Saint Francis in the Middle Ages."
As for the former pope, now referred to as "Pope Emeritus," Kaminski says he can still play an important role.
"The new pope, Pope Francis, seems to be very humble, very service oriented. I wouldn't really be surprised if he reaches out to Benedict for his advice and to pick his brain on a variety of issues. Nobody is ever trained to embrace that type of job."
Something that excites Father Kaminski and a large portion of the world.