Here are excerpts of statements from U.S. Catholic leaders released in reaction to the of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis:— Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles: "I have had the privilege of knowing our new Holy Father through our work together on the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. It is a beautiful sign to have a new pope who is the first pope from the Americas, from the New World. The election of Pope Francis is a call for all of us to strive for holiness and to work to make our countries and our continents a 'new world of faith.'"— Father John O'Connor, provincial minister of the Franciscans of Holy Name Province: "I am delighted to see the choice of a cardinal from South America as it reflects the true universality of the Catholic Church. ... St. Francis of Assisi ... challenged the clericalism in the church, he led by his example of humility, and he reached out to people of all faiths, economic classes and backgrounds. Everything that I hear so far about our new pope tells me that he is committed to do the same."— Archbishop Roger Schweitz of Anchorage, Alaska: "This is exciting news which provides a fresh beginning for the church, for us to have a pope from Latin America. We rejoice in the hope and the expectation that this first pope from the Southern Hemisphere brings us."— Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J.: "I believe His Holiness has the qualities needed for the papacy today. He has a pastor's heart. He has administrative skills needed to address the issues of the church's administration. He also has a significant understanding of the Vatican. ... His Jesuit training and experience as a teacher will serve us all well. ... That he comes from a different part of the world shouldn't surprise anyone."— Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami: "A simple man. A humble man. A man of God. The first Jesuit, the first Argentine, the first pope from the New World, and the first to take the name Francis. The Holy Spirit is capable of rendering great surprises! ... The Holy Spirit has spoken. The Holy Spirit remains with Christ's church and his people."— Ukrainian Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia: "The vision of the Catholic Church breathing with two lungs, both East and West, advocated by Blessed Pope John Paul II will undoubtedly be fostered by the Holy Father. The hierarchy, clergy, religious and faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic church in the United States of America pledge our love and our loyalty to the new Holy Father."— Bishop John Kinney of St. Cloud, Minn.: "As I watched it, I was so pleased that not only did he (Pope Francis) offer his blessings and prayers but he also asked for the blessings and prayers for the people."— Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs: "Cardinal Bergoglio is known for his humility, simplicity and as a respected theologian. I am fully confident that the Holy Spirit was at work during the conclave, and I look forward to our new Holy Father's leadership and guidance for years to go." — Oblate Father Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States: "The keys of St. Peter have been entrusted to our new Holy Father, whom I had the privilege of meeting in 2010.Being in his presence, you know you are close to the Lord. We pledge our allegiance and our fidelity to Pope Francis and encourage our entire to gather around him as around the Lord."— Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha: "I invite all in the Archdiocese of Omaha to pray for Pope Francis as he begins to serve as our chief shepherd. We all look forward to becoming better acquainted with him in the days to come and to enjoying his pastoral leadership."— Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta (speaking to ABC News in Rome): "I think that at that moment he won the heart of all the Romans, if not of all of the world. He is a holy man."— Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston: "At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus commissioned St. Peter, the rock upon which the church would be built. Pope Francis continues that mission in an increasingly secular culture, where many people have not come to know or have forgotten that Jesus is our savior and redeemer. ... We pledge our faithful support for the Holy Father as he leads the church in proclaiming the new evangelization, inviting all people to develop a closer relationship with Christ and to share that gift with others."— Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill.: "To our chief pastor, we pledge our respect, obedience and love. I encourage all Catholics and people of faith to pray for Pope Francis as he takes up this pastoral office as the bishop of Rome."— Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco: "We are especially grateful for the providence of the Holy Spirit in raising up for us the first successor of St. Peter to come from Latin America, which is for all of us a sign of renewal and spiritual vitality for all of God's people. ... Our new Holy Father combines a brilliant intellect with a heart that is both humble and loving."— Leadership Conference of Women Religious: "(Cardinal Bergoglio) demonstrated great dedication to the mission of the church during his leadership in Argentina. As he serves in the papacy, we trust that his many gifts will continue to be spent on behalf of the universal church, and most especially for people who live in poverty in all parts of the world. As a conference of leaders of orders of Catholic sisters in the United States, we ... look forward to working with him in carrying forth the Gospel message."— Conference of Major Superiors of Men: "As men called to consecrated life in service to the church, we find in your election a moment of encouragement, inspiration and challenge. Recognizing your training and spiritual heritage as a member of the Society of Jesus, we are encouraged that you will have special insight into our lives as consecrated persons."— Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland: "As supreme pastor of the universal church, we pray that his word and example inspire and guide the church. I ask for the prayers of all people in the Diocese of Cleveland, Catholics as well as of our brothers and sisters of other religious convictions, that the Lord give our new shepherd a spirit of courage, right judgment, knowledge, and love."— Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: "As new Catholics, being a part of this moment in our faith's history is particularly poignant and reminds us of the consistent and constant presence of the Catholic Church in our world ... We in the ordinariate, who have this unique and distinctive mission to work for Christian unity, welcome this successor to Peter and pledge to him our loyalty and prayers."— Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management: "Service, humility, advocacy for the poor, mercy, prayerfulness, simplicity and grace: These are among the immediately evident characteristics of the new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. ... We look forward to supporting him as he assumes the profound spiritual and managerial responsibilities of his pontificate."—CNS{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0322/popeus/{/gallery}