Mount Washington resident shares national pride with new pope

CINCINNATI - Newly elected Pope Francis and Mount Washington resident Maria Leoni Lang have something in common.

They are both of Italian descent and both were raised in Argentina.

Even though Lang was not among the 150,000 people jammed into St. Peter's square in Vatican City Wednesday, the announcement that Pope Francis I was from Argentina hit her with the same emotion as though she was celebrating in Vatican City.

"I'm a teacher and I'm in the classroom and I start getting these messages and I couldn't stop crying in front of my students and had to explain to them what was going on," Lang said.

Lang has lived in the United States for almost 32 years. She was born in Argentina, and lived there until she was 24.

"We are so proud," Lang said. "I'm proud as an Argentinian of course, but I'm also proud as a Latina, a Spanish speaker and as American."

Lang believes Pope Francis I will have a great impact on all Catholics. Her mom still lives in Argentina and remembers how he affected people there.

"She was telling me that he's very well known in Argentina for his humility, his lifestyle, and especially the work he has done with the poor and supporting priests against drug addiction and also AIDS patients," Lang said of the conversation with her mother.

Lang hopes Pope Francis travels often and she doesn't think that his age will slow him down.

9 On Your Side reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report.

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