As the white smoke rose over the Sistine Chapel, so did excitement over a new pope, new hope, and new expectations. After just two days of the secret conclave, the first non-European pope was elected. According to a March 13 Associated Press report, the new pope has been identified as 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Pope Francis I, as he will be called was voted in by 115 cardinals under the age of 80, reports Bloomberg News. Of historic significance is the fact that Pope Francis is the first non-European pontiff. The Argentine is also the first from South America.
As he waved to the crowd, he looked stunned and in awe of the hundreds of thousands who gathered in St. Peter’s Square to witness history in the making. Chants of “Long live the pope!” filled the air as supporters welcomed their new leader; a new spiritual CEO of the Catholic Church who takes over running an institution plagued with various scandals.
Fully aware of the journey ahead, Pope Francis I asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, who stunned the world with the first papal resignation in almost 600 years.
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