His Holiness Pope Francis
His Holiness Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 17th December 1936.
Pope Francis was elected as the 266th Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church on 13th March 2013, on the fifth ballot of the second day of the Conclave, convened to elect the successor of His Holiness Benedict XVI, whose Pontificate ended on 28th February 2013, following his decision to give up the Petrine office.
White smoke from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St. Peter’s at 6.06pm UK time announced to the world that the Cardinals had elected the 265th successor of St. Peter.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Senior Cardinal Deacon, announced the outcome of the Conclave to the tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square and many millions in the waiting world on the evening of 13th March with the traditional ‘Habemus Papam’ announcement in Latin:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Georgium Marium, Sanctae Romane Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio, qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.
I announce to you with great joy: we have a Pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, the Lord Jorge Mario, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, who takes to himself the name of Francis.
Upon appearing on the balcony of St. Peter’s for the first time, to cheers from the many thousands of people gathered in the square below, the new Pope’s first words were:
Brothers and sisters, good evening! You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one…but here we are. I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop. Thank you! And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him.
The Holy Father led those assembled in praying the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.
And now, we take up this journey, Bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity. It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelisation of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first…first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.
The Holy Father bowed in prayer as the crowd prayed for him.
Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
The new Pope then gave the traditional ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing (to the City of Rome and to the World) to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square and to all those watching and listening by way of television, radio and other communication devices.
Brothers and sisters, I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and until we meet again. We will see each other soon. Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome. Good night and sleep well!
Biography of the Holy Father
1969: Ordained for the Jesuits on 13th December.
1992: Becomes Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires on 27th June.
1998: Becomes Archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28th February.
2001: Proclaimed a Cardinal by Blessed Pope John Paul II on 21st February.
2005: Participated in the Conclave that elected Benedict XVI, 18th and 19th April.
2013: Elected Supreme Pontiff, the 265th successor of St. Peter, on 13th March.
For more information please visit the website of the Holy See.