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New pope: Los Angeles faithful eagerly await word

March 13, 2013 | 11:48 am

As white smoke poured out of the Sistine Chapel chimney Wednesday morning, Catholics in Southern California were pleased to hear they had a new pontiff.

The decision came on the second day of a conclave of 115 cardinals gathered in Vatican City. The white smoke came shortly after 11 a.m. PDT, though the pope has not yet been identified.

Marcus Anderson, 59, read a Bible outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, where bells rang nonstop after the announcement. He said he was "very happy" at the news.

FULL COVERAGE: Choosing a pope

"I was thinking it might have taken a little longer," Anderson said. "I'm excited to know who it is."

Anderson said he's felt a "vacancy" since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down last month. He hoped the new pontiff would be loyal and dedicated to the faith, and said he would like to see priests be allowed to marry.

The next pope "will have a lot of things on his plate," Anderson said.

Anderson said he had hoped the conclave would select a cardinal from the United States or the Philippines as the next pope, but said he would be pleased with the decision no matter what.

Delia Aragon, 62, of Pico Rivera, agreed.

"Whoever is going to be the pope is going to be our pope, and we're going to love him," she said.

Marie Lopez, of Alhambra took a break from work to come to the downtown church after she heard the bells. She's been praying for the cardinals since the conclave began, she said.

"It's so exciting to hear the bells," she said. "I haven't stopped smiling."

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— Cindy Chang and Kate Mather

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