Comments from Western Pennsylvania on Pope Francis

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

“It's a good thing that we celebrate. We celebrate everything else. Join us in our celebration. It's a great year for the church.”

— Andrew James, 44, a maintenance worker at Epiphany Catholic Church, Uptown, who designed gold and white bunting that hangs outside Epiphany and St. Mary of Mercy, Downtown, in honor of the newly elected pope.

“I'm not that religious. But I feel like crying now that they've elected a pope, and I hear the bells.”

— Georgiann Zoog, 76, of Downtown said as the bells of St. Mary of Mercy and other churches throughout the Pittsburgh diocese tolled for Pope Francis.

“I think it's just great. I think he seems like a humble, spiritual man. I think it's great for the church.”

— Rev. Harry Bielewicz, pastor at St. Paul, St. Michael the Archangel and St. Peter parishes in Butler

“I'm so excited. Now we have a new Holy Father to guide us.”

— Donna Seuilli, 70, of Oakland

“I hope we get a more progressive pope who can take the church in a different direction.”

— Ed Monaghan, 68, of Monessen

“He has a long history of working with the poor, and I think that's also reflected in the name he took, Francis.”

— Douglas R. Nowicki, St. Vincent Archabbot

“As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.”

— President Obama

“I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to Pope Francis. As always, the church faces great opportunities as well as daunting challenges, and I pray the Lord will give him the strength he needs as he begins his papacy.”

— Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania

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