As he watched the introduction of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as pope with students on a big screen set up inside St. Cecilia Church Wednesday, the Rev. Joseph Walsh mouthed a reaction shared by many Catholics around the globe:
About 230 St. Cecilia students in grades 6-12 were dismissed from class to watch the announcement of the new pope, which came on just the second day of deliberations by cardinals gathered at the Vatican.
A virtual unknown to many, Bergoglio, who will henceforth be known as Pope Francis, is the first pope from the Americas. So unexpected was his selection that many inside the church immediately turned to their smartphones to search for information about him.