HALES CORNERS (WITI) -- A new era for the Catholic church began on Sunday, March 17th. Newly elected Pope Francis led his first Sunday service from St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. Meanwhile, Milwaukee-area Catholics celebrating Sunday services told FOX6 News they believe the Cardinals picked the right guy.
St. Peter's Square in the Vatican was filled to capacity as Pope Francis led Sunday services for the first time as pope.
In Wisconsin, few were awake for Pope Francis' big Sunday debut. However, prayers of hope for the church echoed among the pews a few hours later inside St. Mary Parish in Hales Corners.
"He seems to have a compassion that speaks to people already," Father Chuck Schramm said.
Father Schramm says he has already seen an impact, sharing a story told to him by one of his parishioners about her adult daughter.
"She was getting ready to leave the Catholic church, and after seeing Francis come out and just noticing what he's about, in these early days, she's decided she's going to stick around for awhile," Father Schramm said.
Parishioners are not just happy to learn Pope Francis' new name and what it signifies, but new energy for the church.
"You can't say for sure but I am looking forward to hope," Father Schramm said.
Hope from a new pope that is putting a renewed fire into this long-serving priest.
"It has renewed a spark in me. It kind of helps me to be energized, to look forward to a few more years here in full-time ministry," Father Schramm said.
Pope Francis is the first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit pope and the first pope to be named Francis.
Pope Francis' installation is set for Tuesday, March 19th -- on the day of the Feast of St. Joseph. The installation is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. Milwaukee time.
As many as 200 foreign delegations are expected to attend. Vice President Joe Biden will lead a U.S. delegation to Rome for the occasion.