NORTHVILLE (WWJ) – Now that Pope Francis the 1st has been announced to the world, local Catholics are hoping for compassionate leadership for the future.

One local Catholic pastor is thrilled that Pope Francis the 1st hails from South America — the first non-European ever selected. Pastor of Our Lady of Victory in Northville, Father Denis Theroux, has a good feeling about the direction of the church.

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“Right now my gut just says we’re moving into a new era, and that his focus I think is going to be much more on people,” Theroux told WWJ Newsradio 950. “Truly, he will bring a different perspective from another continent.”

Theroux said he hopes the new pope will provide some healing.

“You know, our church has suffered so much in recent years,” Theroux said.”To have among us what would appear to be, first and foremost, a man whose focus is prayer and simplicity.”

Theroux said the name selected, “Francis the 1st,” represents a man of humility and a caring for the poor.

Monsignor John Zenz, with the Holy Name Church in Birmingham, is also pleased.

“The church needs a good, strong leader — and I’m glad that the cardinals were able to identify him and draw together around him,” said Zenz. “This is going to be very exciting for the church, and I’m so happy for the Hispanic people around the world. Now we have a pope from their culture.”

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Zenz said the new pope used to ride the subway in Buenos Aires — and didn’t have a car.  Zenz said that makes him very down to earth and approachable. “He lives in a very modest, simple way and really has the idea about being a servant,” Zenz said.

Social media is abuzz about the new pope.

“With age comes wisdom – at least for some,” wrote Kate Conat, on WWJ’s Facebook page. “And this guy has a great track record.”

Wrote Mark Zielman, “I was surprised because I didn’t hear his name mentioned at all during the last month. I have faith that the Holy Spirit moved the cardinals to this decision. Pope Francis has my loyalty!”  (Join the Facebook conversation here).

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said he joins “all the faithful in thanking Christ for this grace.”

The 1.3 million-member Archdiocese of Detroit said Vigneron would preside at a vespers service at 5:15 p.m. at the chapel of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

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