CLEARWATER - Rachel Mackedon's cell phone is ringing off the hook. The Puerto Rico native is fielding calls from family members who are abuzz about Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina becoming the first Latino Pope, taking the name Pope Francis I.
"We were joking and excited because I am Hispanic," said Mackedon. "We have never had a Pope from this part of the world but very happy. God knows what he is doing."
Mackedon explained the importance of religion in the Hispanic culture calling it a cornerstone. She even serves as a secretary in the office at St. Cecelia's Church in Clearwater where the congregation is predominantly Hispanic.
The Catholic Church's fastest growth comes from Latin America. Latin America is also home to the largest percentage of Catholic's worldwide. The next largest followers of the religion come from Europe.
"It was really exciting," said Jasmine, an assistant youth minister at St. Cecelia's. "I guess no one was really expecting it. Knowing that he is from Argentina, it is really good. I think it will be really good for all those in Latin America."
ABC Action News will bring you more updates on this developing story when they are available.