Just past 7 pm on the 13th of March 2013 in Vatican City, it was announced that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina is our new Pope. He has chosen to take the name of Pope Francis. The 266th Pope has made history as being the first non-European Pope in over 1,200 years, the first pontiff from Latin America, the first Jesuit to be pontiff, and the first Pope to adopt the name Francis. Spokesman for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi said, “His papal name is simply ‘Francis’, not ‘Francis I’, since he is the first pontiff to bear that name. If after him another pontiff chooses that name then he will be ‘Francis I’.”
After the announcement, a transcript from the Vatican website of Pope Francis’ first words in Italian from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to the people:
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.
(Pope Francis then prayed the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory be with the crowd.)
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 most 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.
(After a few seconds of silent prayer, he then delivered his blessing.)
Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
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.
Pope Francis chose a name that reflects St. Francis of Assisi’s humility and simple lifestyle. His first inaugural mass will be on the 19th of March at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Let us pray for Pope Francis, as he had humbly asked of us, for the Lord’s blessings over him as he take on the big responsibility as pontiff, throughout his journey.