JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- "I spent the whole afternoon crying from excitement," Ana Maria Rios said.
Rios is proud of her heritage. She hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina -- the same city as the new pope.
Friends from across Latin America have been calling with their congrats.
"Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, my husband from Cuba. Everyone is very happy that the Pope is their own. Their family," she continued.
Rios isn't the only one excited. As the white smoke wafted up, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared, students at UNF were glued to the TV.
Parishioners at San Jose Catholic Church also said special prayers for their new leader tonight at mass.
"Delighted. Truly joyful," Bishop Felipe J. Estevez said.
Estevez, bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, believes Pope Francis is a great choice.
He says not only is he modest and takes the bus with everyone else, but he's an inspiration to Spanish speakers across the globe.
Statistically, about 480 million of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America.
"It would make sense after a Polish Pope, a German Pope, it would be a Latin-American Pope."
Rios couldn't agree more. She says she'll rest easy knowing Argentina will not be thought of for soccer - but for the spiritual leader that will forever sit in the record books.
'I think this pope is what we need. He's a big hope for South America," she said with a smile.
Jacksonville has a sister city in Argentina called Bahía Blanca. It's located in the southeast of the province of Buenos Aires, by the Atlantic Ocean. The name means "White Bay."