A group of north country people witnessed history in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope.
He is the first pontiff from the Americas.
A group of north country residents is in Rome as part of a trip organized by St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Watertown.
The church's pastor, Father Don Robinson, spoke with 7 News by phone shortly after Pope Francis spoke to the crowd in St. Peter's Square.
Robinson said he and the others on his tour were at their hotel in Rome when they saw on television that white smoke was coming from the chimney at the Sistene Chapel.
White smoke means a pope has been elected.
"We just grabbed some people from the hotel, we got into a taxi and we just dashed to St. Peter's Square along with thousands of people and we got there and about 10 minutes later they announced the name," said Robinson.
He and his group were at the back of the square and couldn't see or hear the new pope very well.
But, he said it was exciting to be there in the crowd.
"There are people here from all over the world. You can tell this is not just a Roman event. It's not just an Italian event. It's a worldwide event to think we have a new Holy Father," said Robinson.
Pope Francis - the first Jesuit pope - has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.
He has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work - overseeing churches and priests - that some say is an essential skill for a pope.
His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor.
Monday, December 9, 2013, Watertown, NY
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