At 7:06 p.m. at the Vatican City in Rome, white smoke emerged from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, signaling the election of the newest Pope from the conclave within St. Peter’s Cathedral. Within moments of the signal, thousands of rain-soaked people within the massive square erupted into cheers, applause and tears of joy.
For more than an hour, the Vatican’s loyal Swiss Guard stood at attention, while the mass of people waited in nervous anticipation of the next Pope to appear before the crowd. Hundreds of brightly colored flags from all over the world waved proudly amongst the crowd, amid constant chants of “Papa! Papa! Papa!” in demonstrating the world wide adulation of the Catholic priest who will be replacing Pope Benedict, who shockingly announced his retirement just over a month ago.
Finally at 8:12 p.m., the enormous crowd shrieked with excitement as the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran proclaimed to the 1.2 billion Catholics and the rest of the world
“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus papam! (I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!)”
76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been proclaimed as the new pope and will take on the name of Pope Francisco I. He is the first cardinal to be elected as pope from South America.
The Twiter hashtags #popewatch and #pope will be the prevailing trend for the rest of the day. Some have already tweeted that they hope that the new pope will also know how to use Twitter, as did his predecessor Pope Benedict.