March 14 - What's in a name? A lot say the residents of Assisi who believe the pontiff's decision to call himself Pope Francis is a positive first step. Deborah Gembara reports.
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In a bid to understand the new pope, many are looking to the simple Catholic friar whose name he will go by.
SOUNDBITE: Michela Cuppoloni saying (Italian):
"I was really touched, just hearing the name of St. Francis, our patron saint, filled me with joy. I hope he will truly be like him."
Assissi, the 13th century friar's hometown in central Italy - locals and tourists here see the Argentine cardinal's decision to be called Pope Francis as an encouraging sign.
Friar Guillermo Spirito.
SOUNDBITE: Friar Guillermo Spirito Of The Sacred Convent Of Assisi saying:
"I have great admiration for his great humility, his simple, every-man manner. The last time I was with him was in 2010 and he told me that St. Francis was a paradigm of how to live the gospel. The great surprise of seeing him pick this name really struck and overwhelmed me."
And while the basilica that bears his name features beautiful frescoes and architecture, St. Francis is best known for his understated ways, as the patron saint of animals and the environment. Each year, Catholics all over the world have their pets blessed as part of the Feast of St. Francis.
Pope Francis, the first pontiff to go by that name, takes over at a time of great challenge inside the church.
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