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      Local Catholic leaders react to new Pope

      In only two days and five rounds of votes, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis I, was chosen to be at the forefront of Catholics worldwide.

      "This really is the work of the Holy Spirit," said Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Marquette Diocese. "None of the leading contenders were elected and it was a very short conclave."

      Some say the short selection is nothing less than a miracle.

      "There must have been a strong consensus among the cardinals to go with Pope Francis," insisted Archbishop Sample. "This is definitely one of the Holy Spirit."

      "It was a wonderful assurance that the Lord has provided another Sheppard," said Monsignor Michael Steber of St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. "Coming from Argentina, representing a large part of the Church where a lot of growth is happening."

      According to Pew Research Center, Argentina has the 11th largest Catholic population in the world.

      "We have to think about that itâ??s from our hemisphere," Bishop Sample said. "Not just outside of Italy, but outside of Europe. I think it says something about the direction the church wants to go."

      The faith's 1.2 billion followers, including those in the United States, believe their prayers have been answered.

      "I would think itâ??s really the beginning of a whole new, exciting adventure," Bishop Sample insisted. "We're going to want to get to know Pope Francis."