Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected Psope by 115 members of the College of Cardinals. Bergoglio will take the name Pope Francis, the first time the name is being used by a pope.
“He is a man who identifies with the poor,” said Father Mario Prietto SJ, from Our Lady of Sorrows in Santa Barbara. “He moved out of the cardinal’s palace in Buenos Aires, took public transportation, he lived in an apartment, cooked his own meals. A very, very humble man, very much a man of the people.”
Francis is also breaking ground as the first pope from Latin America and the first-ever Jesuit pope.
“The church is a universal church and we live in global world,” said Father Richard McManus of Old Mission Santa Barbara. “It’s an exciting day for the whole church and the world as well.”
Tens of thousands of people watched and waited from outside the Vatican as white smoke rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. The bells of St. Peter’s Basilica began to ring, signifying that a new pope had been elected to lead the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.
Old Mission Santa Barbara’s bells also rang — first when white smoke was seen, and a second time when Pope Francis walked out on the balcony and was greeted by the masses.
The conclave to elect Pope Francis began Tuesday following the resignation of Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. A two-thirds majority (77 votes) was required to be elected pope.