GROVE CITY, Fla. - Celebrations following the selection of a new Pope extended from Vatican City back here to southwest Florida.
The excitement is twofold at St. Francis of Assisi in Grove City. In addition to celebrating the 266th Pope, parishioners are thrilled their church now shares the same name as Pope Francis.
"We are so excited," Director of Religious Education Jim Brantner said. "The sun is really shining on the Catholic Church."
Members of St. Francis of Assisi have high hopes for Pope Francis and already feel a special connection.
"We both get to share the same patron saint so to speak," Brantner said. "Saint Francis, a humble, simple man, like our new Pope."
Thousands of miles away in Vatican City, as white smoke signaled a new Pope, Jane Adolphe stood on the roof of her building capturing the moment in time.
"The impression was, poof, you have this puff of white smoke and you have a Pope," Adolphe said. "It was just beautiful and mystical and a mysterious type of experience. The Square was packed. There were flashes everywhere, people taking pictures. It was prayer and singing. It was electric."
Adolphe, an Associate Professor with Ave Maria School of Law, now works full time for the Secretariat of State at the Vatican. Experiencing a Conclave from the inside and hearing Francis' first prayer as Pope is something she remembers with extreme gratitude.
"Everything I've seen and heard is extremely positive," Adolphe said. "When you're cognizant of the storms that were happening before the Conclave, you understand this return to simplicity and prayer and humility is the direction the church has to go. In fact, in St. Francis' time, the Church needed that in a very deep way. And, he did provide that for the Church."
Bells at churches throughout the Diocese of Venice rang Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. to mark the selection of the new Pope. Thursday, the each church will celebrate a mass for the intention of the Holy Father.