Making his first official appearance as Pope Francis I, Jorge Bergoglio, the 76-year-old cardinal from Agentina, emerged from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica Wednesday.
White smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City around 2 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, signaling the election of the 266th pontiff of the Catholic church. The decision was made by a conclave of 115 cardinals.
Fr. Richard Gill, the pastor at St. Lawrence O'Toole Church in Brewster, called the announcement a "momentous" event for the "entire world."
"My belief is that this Holy Father will keep the focus on Jesus Christ, and that’s what the world needs to hear," he said.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation last month, and that conclave began Tuesday the process of choosing a new pope. Gill, who was in Rome studying when Benedict was chosen, said he was a bit surprised that the news came Wednesday. Just like he was for Benedict's election, Gill was anticipating another day of waiting.
Leah Duddie, a Catholic who lives in Southeast, was one of the folks eating lunch at Eveready Diner when the news broke.
"Everyone's eyes were peeled to the TV," she said. "People were done eating and sat back down to finish watching."
Duddie was thrilled to see the white smoke appear.
"Maybe this pope will be willing to modernize some of the Catholic ways," she said.
Born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis I was ordained for the Jesuits on Dec. 13, 1969, during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel, according to the Vatican.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On 20 May 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.
He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.