THE SON OF A RAILWAY WORKER Pope Francis - the first Jesuit pope - has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last pope, in the 2005 papal election.
He was born in Buenos Aires, one of five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife and was ordained to the priesthood in 1969.
He became Pope Francis after a surprisingly quick conclave winning 77 votes, or two- thirds of the 115 cardinals' votes, on the fifth ballot.
His decision to pick the name Francis evokes key Christian tenets such as simplicity and humility. And they are fitting for a man who, spending nearly his entire career in Argentina, is known for catching the bus and eschewing the luxuries of high office.
Tens of thousands of Catholics flocked to the Vatican City last night to witness Jorge Mario Bergoglio's unveiling as Pope Francis I. The Argentine son of an Italian railway worker was chosen as the 266th pontiff on the fifth ballot of the conclave of cardinals last night, with the Sistine Chapel's symbolic white smoke revealing the decision.
But despite the most daunting of starts to his new role, Pope Francis thought it best to start his first papal address with a joke. He told the thousands of soaking Catholics huddled in the Vatican City's St. Peter's Square that the cardinals had gathered to 'give Rome a bishop' but said that they had 'gone to the ends of the earth to get one'.
The multilingual Pope's birthplace will be seen as a significant move to a continent in which 42 per cent of the world's Catholics live. He is first non-European Pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 731. He becomes the third non-Italian Pope in a row.
Thousands of worshippers crammed into St Peter’s Square. At 6.06pm UK time, the white smoke began to billow signalling that a second day of voting had been successful. Soon after it was announced that the conclave had returned the Archbishop of Buenos Aires as Pope.
French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced ‘Habemus Papam!’ Latin for ‘We have a Pope’ before introducing him to the world in Latin.
Emerging onto the balcony in his white cassock, the new Pope addressed the crowd in Italian, saying ‘Brothers and sisters, Good evening. Let’s start this path of the Church of Rome together, bishop and people together, (a path) of fraternity, love and trust among us.
‘Let’s pray for one another, for the whole world, so that there is great fraternity.’ His first act was to lead the crowd in a prayer for the Pope Emeritus, Benedict. He led the faithful in reciting the Lord’s Prayer and asked the crowd to pray for him before blessing the people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and bidding them goodnight.
The Vatican has said he chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, who formed the Franciscan order, saying that the new Pope is a 'lover of the poor'.
And the name... He chose the name Pope Francis I, after St Francis of Assisi and is the first pope from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in over a thousand years. The Vatican said it is a homage to St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century Italian founder of the Franciscan order, describing him as a 'lover of the poor'.
A trained chemist, he has been a cardinal since 2001 and is known for his humility, for years living in a modest apartment, rather than his official residence and taking public transport rather than his official limousine.
The native Spanish speaker, who will be inaugurated on March 19, is multilingual, also speaking German and Italian - the language of the church.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen