Pope Francis -- Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina -- is the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
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 appeared on the balcony above St. Peter's Square, waving to the tens of thousands of people who were gathered below on Wednesday, March 13.
Francis looked stunned as he faced the cheering crowd. He asked for prayers for himself and for retired Pope Benedict, whose resignation paved the way for the conclave that chose the Argentinean today.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.