Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 / 01:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has become the next Pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Francis.
Pope Francis greeted the crowds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square shortly after 8:00 p.m. local time, after spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Pauline Chapel.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He is a Jesuit and is 76. He is the first Latin American Pope and the first Jesuit Pope. In 2005, he received the second-most votes in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict.
He entered the Society of Jesus in 1958, and obtained a licentiate in philosophy. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and was a theology professor. He was a provincial leader for the Society and a seminary rector.
The College of Cardinals came to an agreement on the Holy Father’s election the afternoon of March 13, after a total of four inconclusive votes earlier that day and the previous day.
Two-thirds of the cardinals present – in this case, 77 of 115 – are necessary to elect a new Pontiff.
Pope Francis began his first words to the Church by saying that the cardinals “went to the end of the world” to find the new Bishop of Rome.
“Brothers and Sisters, good evening. You know that the charge of the conclave was to give a bishop of Rome.
“It would seem that my brothers went to the end of the world to choose him,” he said March 13 from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Pope then called on the crowd of tens of thousands to pray for “our Bishop Emeritus Benedict.”
“This way of the Church that we commence on,” he said, is one of “an evangelization in this beautiful city.”
Before he closed his remarks, Pope Francis asked the crowd for the favor of praying for him in silence before he gave his blessing.
He then bowed at the waist as silence settled over St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope blessed the throng of people, saying, “I give my blessing to you and all people of good will in the world.”
“I’m going to say goodbye now, thank you so much for your welcome.
I say good night “because tomorrow I want to go and pray to Mary for her protection.”
A marching band playing and the bells of St. Peter’s ringing in the night followed Pope Francis’ first words.