By ELIZABETH HSING-HUEI CHOU
Bells sounded at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles today to greet the announcement that a new pope had been selected.
Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrated the midday Mass at the cathedral in recognition of the historic selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as pope.
The Mass, held at noon in the middle of the week, was sparsely attended by about 70-100 people who walked through white and gold decorations at the entrance to the church.
One parishioner, 26-year-old Chris De La Cruz said as he entered the cathedral that he hopes the new pope will be “someone who is open-minded to the 21st Century.”
The selection of a pope from Argentina could prove to be particularly welcome news in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, the membership of which is about 70 percent Latino.
The new pontiff, the 266th leader of the Catholic Church, takes over for Pope Benedict XVI, who retired due to health reasons at the end of February.
He was the first pope in 600 years to resign.
Bergoglio, 76, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, took the name Pope Francis I.
He is the first Jesuit and first non-European to be chosen pope.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of the nearly 5 million-strong Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was among the cardinals at the Vatican who took part in the selection of the new pope.
His presence made some headlines due to recent revelations about his handling of sex-abuse claims against priests.
On Tuesday, attorneys for four people announced a nearly $10 million settlement of lawsuits against Mahony and the Los Angeles archdiocese over claims of abuse by former priest Michael Baker.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels hosted an all-night prayer vigil Monday night before the conclave of cardinals began the papal-selection process at the Vatican.