It's been less than a week since a new pope—who was formally inaugurated Tuesday morning—was chosen, and there is still plenty of attention on Vatican City.
Weekend masses around the area, including those at St. John the Evangelist in Mahopac, noted the election of Pope Francis I.
"His qualifications are stellar," Father Jarlath Quinn, of the Mahopac parish, said, adding that local folks he spoke with were "joyful" after hearing the news.
Quinn, who runs the 5,000-family parish, considers the new pope to be among the church's compassionate and conservative leaders.
"They teach church doctrine, the truth of the church," he said. "They have a great compassion for the poor."
That empathy is evident in the way Francis lived his life—cooking for himself and maintaining humble living quarters—before becoming pope, according to Quinn. It makes sense then, he says, that he took the name he did, as St. Francis of Assisi was a tireless advocate for the poor, dedicated to a life of poverty.
Andrew DeStefano, a lector at Saint James Church and Our Lady of the Lake parish in Carmel, is hoping that with the new leader, Catholics in Putnam County will take the "opportunity to re-invigorate the role of the church in their own lives."
"The Pope emphasizes the church's focus and how we should lead our lives and treat each other as good Christians should," he said.
Quinn is confident that actions by Francis could do just that, as he is a Jesuit, and that order is typically associated with reform.
"Let's go back to the basics of the gospel," he said.
Find more local reaction here.