Catholic leaders from Iowa and Nebraska are welcoming newly elected Pope Francis.
Bishop Martin Amos from the Diocese of Davenport says in an online post that he's sure cardinals considered many factors in their selection Wednesday of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has chosen the papal name Francis. Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque called the election historic.
In Nebraska, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln posted a brief celebratory note. The Omaha World-Herald reports Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha asked members of the church to pray for the pope.
Amos says cardinals picked a leader who could bring reform to issues such as church scandals, Mass attendance, the role of women in the church and evangelization.
An Argentinian, the 76-year-old Bergoglio is the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.