VATICAN CITY: An hour after a white smoke billowed from the chimney at 7:07 pm on the second day of behind-closed-doors voting, a new Pope emerged from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known as Pope Francis I is the newly elected leader of 1.2 billion Catholics and the first pope outside Europe.
The choice of the new pontiff was announced by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran with the Latin phrase “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam!” meaning, “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!”
The 76-year-old Pope Francis I, is the first Jesuit to become a pope and 266th pontiff in Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history.
His first act on Thursday will be to visit his predecessor, Pope Benedict also known as the Pope Emeritus after the former pontiff resigned due to health problems, says Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
The unveiling of the new pope was moment of pure joy for the 100,000 pilgrims, tourists and other onlookers in St. Peter’s Square. The excited crowd un-mindful of heavy rains waves different flags and cheered even more loudly when the newly elected pontiff appeared.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is also the first pontiff to take the name Francis. Bands from the Italian and armed forces and the Vatican’s guard army paraded in front of St. Peter’s Basilica before the new pope appeared.
115 Cardinal electors vote and decide on a behind-the-scenes process that took place in a secret conclave at the Sistine Chapel. The voting process should remain secret as both cardinals and close staff swore an oath of secrecy. “Viva il Papa!”