The city of Grand Island is no stranger to immigrants.
It was founded by German settlers and has continued to welcome immigrants since its founding.
It is for this reason that some of the city's Catholic residents say they can relate with the new pope whose family immigrated to Argentina.
As thousands overseas heard prayers from Pope Francis' first Sunday mass, local Grand Island residents showed their enthusiasm at St. Mary's Cathedral.
Rev. Jonathan Sorensen, the church's associate pastor and director of religious education said, "I mentioned it in the Spanish mass this morning and they applauded, and last night at the English mass and they applauded."
He said people are happy with the new direction as well as several firsts the new pope represents for the Catholic Church.
One first in particular excited Grand Island's Hispanic population. As a whole, they were enthused by the South American nationality of Pope Francis and felt as thought they could relate to him because of it.
Sorensen said, "He [Pope Francis] is Italian, his parents were Italian but he was an immigrant and grew up in South America. Our Hispanic population here -- they are immigrants that grew up in Latin and South America and they really identify with him."
Jaime Ludena was attending mass on Sunday. Originally from Peru, Ludena said he and others around him were very happy to hear of the pope's nationality and continue to be pleased with his actions.
Many believers say they're pleased with the religious leader's choice to adopt the name Pope Francis, in honor of St. Francis who was known as a saint for peace and helping the poor.
Ludena said "helping the poor" is something the world needs, and described the poverty he's seen in South America. He shared, "A lot of people are poor, a lot of people are homeless, and a lot of people are unhealthy too."
Sorensen said, "By engaging the poor we'll be seeing something radically different and good -- I think we'll see a lot of firsts from this pope."
Sorensen said the biggest news surrounding the pope is not just the 'firsts' he represents but rather the unification he may bring to two historically separated sects of the Christian faith.
Sorensen said the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church plans to attend the installation of Pope Francis on Tuesday.
"That's a big first in over 1,000 years; the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church have been divorced since the year 1054 and the fact that there's going to be this little bit of cooperation -- I pray that there might be a reunification of the church in the years to come," he said.