Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was selected to be the new pope Wednesday by the College of Cardinals in Vatican City.
Bergoglio, the son of an Italian railway worker, becomes the first Jesuit and first Latin American pontiff, according to news reports.
He has taken the name Francis.
Monsignor Ferdinando Berardi of Holy Family Church in New Rochelle said he was not familiar with Bergoglio, but his first impressions were extremely favorable.
"I was very impressed with the presentation he made," Berardi said, adding that he came out on the balcony in a simple garment and only wore the stole when he gave a blessing. Bergoglio is said to cook his own food and gave up his driver.
"All these to me are signs of a simple man, a man of the common person," he said.
Pope Francis addressed the growd below from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
"He immediately touched the hearts of the people," Berardi said. "And when he asked them to be quiet, how they all did quickly."
Berardi was also impressed by the choice of the name Francis.
"St. Francis is a popular saint of the Catholic Church, but also of the whole world," he said.
Born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was ordained for the Jesuits on Dec. 13, 1969, during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel, according to the Vatican’s Web site.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On 20 May 1992 Bergoglio was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite. He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
Writing on New Rochelle Patch's Facebook page, New Rochelle resident Scott Hauser said the news was "fantastic."
"God bless our new father!" he wrote.
Iona College student Richard Regis Giacovas said he thought there were both positives and negatives to the selection of Bergoglio.
"The negative would be his age," Giacovas said. "The Catholic Church doesn't seem to make that a priority. The positive is that he is from Argentina and 40 percent of Catholics make up Latin America."
Berardi said he thought the man chosen as new pope was the right man for the times.
"The Cardinals realized that the church needs to remind us what the church is really all about," he said. "We've gotten sidelined with all the other questions, as important as they are.
"We are a church that teaches that God loves you, God is merciful, and God is there to help you," Berardi said.