EL PASO TX — The election of the new Pope Wednesday was a groundbreaking day for Catholics all over the world and here in the Borderland, hundreds of catholics took time out of their day to watch history unfold at the Vatican.
Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas has been with St. Pius church for 25 years. Needless to say he is a fixture in the Catholic community here in El Paso.
"Yes, a tremendous blessing for me," said Bañuelas.
Word of the new Pope spread fast in his parish.
"People have been calling, very excited that the Pope is from South America and already you can hear the love they have for the Pope. They call him el papa pancho already," said Bañuelas.
Not only did the Vatican elect Pope Francis in record time, he is also a Spanish speaker from Argentina, the first South American Pope in history.
“The church is growing and he speaks Spanish but he's the Pope of the whole church, Africa and Asia as well. And the contributions of the south of the border so to speak are gonna be more apparent to the universal church," said Bañuelas.
It's a big change for the Vatican as the church moves to become more transparent and accessible to the people. Parishioner and parent Gisela Campa appreciates that the new Pope speaks her native language but is also looking forward to change.
"It doesn't matter who he is the only thing that is important in my case is that the person fit and take the role he needs to take. Most of the times people have a fear of change and we need to know what kind of change he will make," said Campa.
"With this Pope already I think the church is going to be more credible to world because the world is looking for some meaning and some vision of what's important to be a human being, what makes the world better," said Bañuelas.
Monsignor Bañuelas says while the church will always embrace its doctrines, there is currently discussion at the Vatican level about the things that can change in the future to modernize the church.