The Catholic Diocese of Lincoln honored the new pontiff with a special mass Wednesday. Those we spoke with are excited about the future of the church and Pope Francis.
Lincoln bishop James Conley enters the Cathedral of the Risen Christ Wednesday afternoon for a special service, as Catholics across the Capitol City welcome the news of a new Pope.
"We've all been waiting for this," Karen Noel said."
"First the black smoke, then today the white smoke. So, it was exciting to see who the new pope was going to be."
It would turn out to be Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, taking the name Pope Francis.
"I think the name he chose, too, is important, which again speaks about his humility on his poverty," Conley said.
Those we spoke to outside of mass say Pope Francis faces many challenges, especially in dealing with sex scandals scattered throughout the church.
"The bishops here have done a great job in handling it to and I think he will as well," Katie Theisen said.
"But, as they come to light, I think just the prayers that he provides and strength he provides for us as we go through that, I think he'll be very inspiring in handling that."
As the conclave met in secrecy, there were many speculations. One of which was that the new pope would be young. But, at 76-years-old, Pope Francis is just 2 years younger than Pope Benedict when he was elected.
"He has a larger frame of reference to draw from. From what I've heard and listened to on TV today, he comes to the table with a lot," Noel said.
Overall, bishop Conley and other Catholics say they're optimistic with the pick no one really expected.
It's been more than a millennium since a Pope has been chosen from the Americas. Conley jokingly said, "It's about time."