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Pope Francis I starts his first day as the new Pope

Mar 14th, 2013 - International News

— One Franciscan friar in Puerto Rico says Latin America has waited 20 centuries for a Latin American pope, and he calls the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — a huge gift. Pope Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires and spent nearly his entire career in Argentina. Latin Americans make up about 40 percent of the world's Catholics. 1

Twenty-four hours ago, Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio was one of 115 Roman Catholic cardinals considering who should succeed now-retired Pope Benedict XVI. Today, Bergoglio is the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and he's taken the name of Pope Francis. He is the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit and the first from outside Europe in a millennium. Pope Francis opened his pontificate today with a visit to Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis has started the day with a prayer at Rome's main basilica. He's also celebrating an inaugural Mass in the Sistine Chapel, where cardinals yesterday elected him leader of the Catholic Church. The Vatican says Francis may be meeting with his predecessor Benedict in a few days.

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