Father Richard Perry of Missoula's St. Francis Xavier church was a very busy man Wednesday, as the Roman Catholic Church elected and confirmed the new pontiff, who named himself Pope Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

Reached Thursday at the St. Francis parish, Father Perry said the Roman Catholic community in Missoula was excited and thrilled with the announcement from the Vatican, after the white smoke from the conclave was seen, and the world would soon meet the new Pope.

Perry said the process of electing the new pontiff was an educational experience for those who had never seen a conclave before.

Perry said many aspects of Pope Francis' election were historic, including the fact that he is "the first Latin American, the first the first non-European in a thousand years, the first Jesuit, and that he had taken a name that no Pope had even selected before, Francis".

Perry said the election of this new Pope signals the fact that "this isn't business as usual, something else is going on here".

Father Richard Perry