The choice of a new pope has shocked many this afternoon, and if you have been watching the news you hear the commentaries and the refreshing excitement of something new. Pope Francis is the first from Latin America, being from Argentina, and reflects many firsts – including being a Jesuit, who are commonly committed to social justice causes. Watching Pope Francis’ warm smile and kind words and humility gives many hope for a renewed focus by the Church on issues of poverty, least of these and love of Christ. We pray that under Pope Francis the church move in a new direction, in moderation with a focus on compassion and social justice. 

Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Of Buenos Aires, Elected Leader Of Catholic Church

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Of Buenos Aires, has been elected to be the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis.

Francisco appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at Wednesday more than an hour after white smoke was released from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 2:05 EDT (7:05 p.m. CET) to signal that a new pope had been selected. Speaking from the balcony, he gave his first address as pope, the traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the “City and the World”), as crowds waved, cried and cheered for the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

He prayed for the church, the papacy and for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Francis, a Jesuit priest, was elected to the papacy after two days of conclave meetings with a total of five ballots cast. Voting in the conclave, which began Tuesday afternoon, is confidential and cardinals were sworn to secrecy, but Francis received at least 77 votes, which is the minimum two-thirds required to become pope. There were 115 cardinals eligible to vote in the conclave. All were under 80 before Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s retirement, as required by Vatican rules. In 2005, when Benedict was elected, it took two days and four votes to elect him.

Francis, whose papacy is effective immediately, will be formally installed in the coming days. It’s unclear when the installation Mass will happen, but Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi said earlier on Wednesday that Tuesday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, is a possible date. He spoke before white smoke signalled news of a new pope, and it was unclear if he expected a decision on Wednesday. Lombardi also said in the same interview that the new pope would likely celebrate Mass with cardinals the morning after his election.


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