Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.
After announcing `'Habemus Papum" -- `'We have a pope!" -- a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI -- who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
Pope Francis has taken the name of two Roman Catholic saints -- both of them missionaries.
The Argentine pontiff is the first to adopt the name of the rich young Italian from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1209.
During the Crusades, Francis of Assisi risked his life to meet and preach the gospel to a Muslim sultan before visiting the Holy Land.
The new pope also is paying tribute to Saint Francis Xavier, the 16th century missionary to Asia who founded the Jesuit order. Francis is the first Jesuit pope.
He celebrates his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday, and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
The new pope can't move into the papal apartment just yet.
He will remain with the cardinals at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel, an impersonal modern hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens where they have been sequestered since the beginning of the conclave.
He will spend his first night as pontiff in a room that features a bed with a dark wood headboard and a carved image of Christ's face, as well as a sitting area and a study.
The new pope is expected to stay there for a few weeks until the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace can be renovated. The apartment was sealed Feb. 28, just after Benedict resigned, and cannot be reopened until the new pope formally takes possession.
Meanwhile, Latin Americans are reacting with joy to news of the first pope from the hemisphere.
Near the cathedral in Argentina's capital, Martha Ruiz burst into tears of emotion at news that her cardinal Mario Bergoglio has been named pope.
She says the news "is incredible."
At the St. Francis of Assisi church in the colonial Old San Juan district in Puerto Rico, church secretary Antonia Veloz exchanged jubilant high-fives with the priest.
Pope Francis I will oversee about 1.2 billion Catholics. A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.
Francis will also be well-versed in new media. The @Pontifex Twitter account was reactivated after his announcement - it had been shut down since Benedict resigned. Francis' first tweet read 'HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM.'
Statement from the President on His Holiness Pope Francis
On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy. As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years—that in each other we see the face of God. As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith. We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world.
Vice President Joe Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to newly elected Pope Francis' installation in Rome.
That's according to a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trip hasn't been publicly announced.
An official date hasn't been announced, but the Vatican says it's a "good hypothesis" that the new pope will be installed next Tuesday.
Biden is an observant Catholic and the first member of that faith to be elected vice president.
Cardinals in Rome elected 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina earlier Wednesday. Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis, becomes first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Statement from the Vice President on His Holiness Pope Francis
Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility. I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome for his Inaugural Mass. The Catholic Church plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths. I look forward to our work together in the coming years on many important issues.
So, what is the reaction here in Reno?
We sat down and talked to the Catholic bishop of Reno earlier this afternoon. He told us he was surprised but also excited and happy with the selection.
"I had met Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Francis now, a few years ago when I was down in Bueno Aires to attend a meeting when he was presiding. And just found him to be a very gracious and kind man. I heard a lot of good things about him," says Randolph Calvo.
The selection was surprising Calvo says because of Pope Francis' age. He is 76 and it was thought the conclave would elect a younger pope.
Pope Francis was rumored as a major contender for the position in the last conclave eight years ago.
This time though, many thought he was a bit of a long shot.
Calvo says nonetheless people must recognize that Pope Francis has energy and new ideas to carry on the church's mission.
"Pope Francis comes across as a very humble man. A man of prayer and also a man whose lifestyle is very simple."
Bishop Calvo says he hopes Pope Francis focuses on fixing up the management in Vatican City as well as firing up people's faith in developed parts of the world.