A CHEERFUL CONCLAVE

The Associated Press

Arkansas est solum IV percent catholicus — or, in English, Arkansas is only 4 percent Catholic. But it does have a Pope County. In the county seat of Russellville, a Nigerian priest who leads St. John's Catholic Church says Pope Francis' election had a different feel than previous ones because the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, is still alive.

"So this conclave took place in a good mood. The cardinals were not in grief, nobody died," says the Rev. Chuma Ibebuike (ee-bay-BWEE-kay).

Ibebuike says having a pope from the Americas gives hope to those who would like to see a Catholic leader from Africa or Asia. "That the leader of the whole church comes from the new church, so to say, is amazing and I think he will really strengthen the faith of the old church," he says. "The black pope, that's what we are still waiting for."

— Jeannie Nuss — Twitter http://twitter.com/jeannienuss

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