Pope Francis is Part of Many "Firsts"
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis the First.
That is the name chosen by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (HOHR'-hay bur-GOHG'-lee-oh) of Argentina, the first pope ever from the Americas.
Jorge Bergoglio is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis, the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290. The choice could foretell the pope's priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church.
Choosing the name of one of Italy's patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.
The 76-year-old was elected today by his fellow cardinals on the fifth ballot, during the second day of the conclave to choose a successor to Pope Benedict. He had reportedly finished second in the conclave eight years ago that named Benedict as pope.
Tens of thousands of people have been cheering the new pope from St. Peter's Square. The pontiff looked stunned as he waved to the crowd below -- asking for prayers for himself and for Pope Benedict.
The crowd had erupted in cheers when the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel emitted white smoke, the signal that a new pope had been chosen. The bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.
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