White smoke pored from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Wednesday, and with it, the Catholic Church has a new leader.
It was 7:06 p.m. Rome time, 2:06 p.m. here, when the smoke came, indicating the successful vote for the 266th successor of St. Peter.
A short time after that, it was announced "Habemus Papam" — "We have a Pope" — and Argintina Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared on the balcony and announced he would be known as Francis.
“This is an historic day, one which we all will always remember, recalling where we were and what we were doing at the time. It will be etched in the memories of people across the world," said Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. "We share this momentous day with over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide and people of every faith. It is a joyous day, one filled with hope and promise. The announcement of Pope Francis is one that will affect people everywhere, because of the Catholic Church’s longstanding tradition of providing services to people of every background.
"His opening address to us was enhanced by his immediate call for prayer, asking all of us to pray for him and assuring us of his ongoing prayers for ourselves.
"Today’s exhilarating event will inspire our ongoing prayers for him for all the years ahead.”
Bergoglio is a Jesuit priest who hails from Argentina and was the archbishop in Bueons Aires before stepping down last year. His election marks the first Bishop of Rome chosen from Latin America.
"Pope Francis is known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice," according to the Facebook page Catholic Church. "As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had the option to live in a palace but chose a simple apartment heated by a small stove. He gave up a limousine for the bus, and cooks his own meals."