Some Grand Island residents said they were anxiously awaiting the announcement of a new pope.
Students at Grand Island Central Catholic said they were glad to experience the selection of a new pope. They've been discussing the details of the papal election process, and were given a chance to watch the news unfold on televisions.
Pope Benedict's retirement and the South American nationality of Pope Francis are both firsts to the modern world.
"It isn't entirely new but it's new to modern society, so it's an adjustment we all had to make because for years I taught that the pope is pope until he dies, and now I will no longer teach that." said Mary Wiles, religious studies teacher at Grand Island Central Catholic.
Students learned that one of the reasons the Pontiff chose the name St. Francis may have been to honor the saint who loved to help the poor.
"I've learned he comes from a poor country so he's going to help out a lot of poor," said Kathryn Rohweder, a Grand Island Central Catholic student.
Another GICC student said she is excited to have a pope from Latin America. Beverly Yax said her family has South American roots, so she shared some of her knowledge of the area.
"I'm glad he will help Guatemala because it's not a rich place, it is poor kind of. When you're going to take a shower you go shower in the river and wash your clothes," said Yax.
After calling Pope Benedict's resignation a "600 year surprise", Bishop William Dendinger is also happy to have a new pope. He is also praising the quick process of the election of the new Pontiff.
Dendinger serves as Bishop of the Grand Island Diocese. He was traveling Wednesday, when word came that an Argentinean had taken the name Pope Francis.
Dendinger issued a statement:
"First of all, I give thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis, and that the election process was a brief one. Although I don't know much about him, his credentials seem to fit perfectly for the position of Pope. His diverse background and ministries make him well suited to lead the universal church. May God bless him with the wisdom he needs. I ask everyone to pray for Pope Francis in his new ministry as Supreme Pontiff."
Dendinger said it's notable that after centuries of only Italian popes, the last two popes were from other European countries. He said previously that he believed it was quite possible the next pontiff would come from the developing world, which turned out to be the case.