"He Has a Tremendous Responsibility Ahead of Him." - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"He Has a Tremendous Responsibility Ahead of Him."

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YAKIMA, Wash.--Monsignor John Ecker walked toward St. Paul's Cathedral with excitement. A new Pope has been elected, and it's quite a change for the Catholic Church.

"It's really exciting that we have a Pope from the American continents, a Pope that's not from Europe," said Msgr. Ecker. "It's a first in centuries, and we're grateful for that."

"We need a universal Pope, someone that will represent all of the Catholic Church throughout the world," said Vickie Schmidt.

"It's been more than a thousand years since the cardinals elected a pope from outside Europe. Choosing Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who now goes by the name of Pope Francis sends a strong message. A message that Msgr. Ecker is familiar with.

"Well there's been rumblings that they might look for a 'outside of Europe Pope' this time because of all the scandals and the messes that have taken place in the administration of the church," said Msgr. Ecker. "They need someone that's going to look from the outside and really reform.

Some members of the Diocese of Yakima said they're surprised by how quick the decision came. But they're now eager for Pope Francis to take over and demonstrate his vision for the Catholic Church.

"Leadership and guidance, a Father," said Joel Valdovines.

"We're very elated and we pray for our new pope," said Schmidt.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Yakima held a special mass Wednesday night to welcome Pope Francis.