Pope Francis fills local hearts with joy - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pope Francis fills local hearts with joy

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It is a day of joy, excitement and hope for Catholics throughout the world, including here in Lake Charles. At St. Louis High school, students and teachers shared in the jubilation.

"Viva il Papa! Viva il Papa!"

It was the saying of the day. It means, "Long live the Pope!" And it was on the lips of students and teachers at St. Louis High upon learning of the new Holy Father.

Students and teachers at St. Louis watched as the white smoke signaled a selection had been made and waited with excitement to find out the identity of the new pontiff, now known as St. Francis I.

Religion teacher Katie Prejean is anxious to learn all she can about Pope Francis.

"So I immediately Googled him and one of the first things we found out was in 2001, I think it was, he went to an AIDS hospital in South America for his Holy Thursday service and washed the feet of AIDS victims, which goes to show this is a very humble man. When he bowed on the balcony of St. Peter's and asked people to pray for him before he blessed them, it's just, you could tell he was overwhelmed with emotion and just struck by the fact that he's our papa, he's our leader, such a humble, holy man," said Prejean.

Students and teachers experienced a kind of surge of joy and emotion that was exhilarating.  Religion teacher Robbie Austin said it was a wonderful experience to share.

"We're all connected. My heart was a flutter. This is something absolutely fantastic that we were able to witness," said Austin.

Students are happy and excited to have witnessed church history. Said sophomore Zachary Boullt, "His kindness, compassion in his tone of voice, I was in awe that at so young, I can see this happen." 

Freshman Rachael Willis agrees.

"It was just awesome," she said.

Freshman  Hannah  Schwartzenburg said, "Everybody was clapping, smiling."

Senior Julia Falgoust was surprised the conclave was so short.

"It was such a joyous moment.  No one expected such a short conclave, and for it to be so short shows that the Holy Spirit was really working," she said.

Student Breana Moreno finds his humility remarkable. "Whenever he asked for us to pray for him it was just amazing how that showed his humility and how humble he is."

And many are touched by the Pope's choice of the name Francis. Sophomore Aaron Tanner feels connected in part, because of the name chosen.

"I really, really like the name. I am a very, very big fan of St. Francis of Assisi," Tanner said. And his grandfather was the late musician and conductor Dr. Francis G. Bulber, for whom Bulber Auditorium at McNeese is named.

On Thursday morning, the students and teachers at St. Louis High will pray the Rosary for the new Pope.

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