The Associated Press
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


"Pope Live" follows the choice of the new pope as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.