More than 4,000 miles from the Vatican, faithful New Englanders sent up their voices and prayers Tuesday for the Catholic Church's new shepherd, Pope Francis.
"Once again the Church rejoices in receiving a successor to St. Peter in this 21st century," said Fall River Bishop George Coleman, who led a celebratory Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral.
There was less pomp and circumstance and fewer people than in St. Peter's Square, but the goal was the same.
"At this Mass, we thank God for Pope Francis and pray that he grants him grace and strength in deeds to fulfill the ministry entrusted to him," Coleman said.
U.S. Rep Jim Langevin, D-R.I., had the honor of attending Pope Francis' installation.
He spent three days at the Vatican with a delegation from the United States.
"Looking down St. Peter's Square as far as the eye could see, there was just a sea of people," Langevin told NBC 10 News by phone. "Incredible no matter what faith you are from. The pope is in the position to promote something we should all care about."
Langevin said he was moved when the pope urged Catholics to protect children, the elderly and those on hard times.
The congressman said he hopes Pope Francis will be a reformist who elevates the role of women in the Church and that he draws more young people.
"This is an opportunity for Pope Francis to reach out to those people and hopefully draw people back into the faith," Langevin said.
Whether in Vatican City or Fall River, worshippers prayed their new leader will be a light that will guide them toward a better future.
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