Claire Vargas, a senior at Christ the King Catholic School, traveled to Rome this past week for a trip with other students. Vargas said getting to see the papal process with her own eyes has been surreal.
"It was really eye opening just really special," said Vargas. "We got to see the black smoke come out. It was crazy, it was hectic there were so many people there."
Lubbock Bishop Placido Rodriguez may not have been able to see the smoke in person, but he followed the conclave from home.
He wasn't expecting Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to be named the leader of the Catholic Church.
"The election of a new pope has taken us by surprise," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez hopes Pope Francis can bring the church together through a new zeal and passion for evangelization.
"We look for ways of bringing peace in the world and perhaps by these efforts of evangelizations we may have a greater sense of unity," Rodriguez said.
Wednesday afternoon, Bishop Rodriguez and more than 20 others gathered at the Catholic Diocese to watch everything unfold,
When Pope Francis I was announced there was celebration and even a toast and prayer for their new leader.
"We are very happy and excited to enter into a new era with new hope with new resolution, with a greater sense of the Holy Spirit," Rodriguez said. "Our church is never abandoned by the Holy Sheppard, our Lord, Jesus Christ."