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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chosen as new pope

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected the next pope, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced Wednesday night from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. He is the first South American pope. Until last year, Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires before stepping down because of his age. He is 76.

The new pontiff, the Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, is taking the name Francis.

He replaces Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in February.

WGN-TV’s Dina Bair is live with the latest from St Peter’s Square.

How does the papal conclave work? Dina Bair explains here.

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Students at Chicago’s Loyola University, a Jesuit University are bursting with pride tonight and also extremely interested in the process and in learning more about their new Pope Francis.

“The Jesuits believe in humility and they believe in social justice, education and helping out the poor.  Things that will really help the Catholic image in the world,” said student Jack Williams.

The repeated word is “humility” when describing a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and is known for his practical approach to poverty,  identifying himself as “one of the poor.”

The choice of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a surprise in part because of his age, he’s 76. He’s also the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1300 years, and a member of an order occasionally seen as an intellectual thorn in the side of the Vatican.

Students at Loyola are thrilled.

“Especially with some of the recent events in the Catholic Church, I think it’s the right thing at the right time,” said freshman Flavio Bravo

“There are some things about religion that I don’t agree with and I’m looking for something that’s more accepting of everyone. So I’m excited to see what this new pope can do,” said freshman Teresa Russo.

Pope Francis as a cardinal preached a message of compassion for the less-fortunate and is remembered for a 2001 hospital visit, where he washed and kissed the feet of a-dozen patients living with AIDS.

“The word pontiff is really a bridge; the bridge between people and God,” said Rev. Timothy Kesicki of the Chicago Jesuits  “And to see that humility before God gives us the faith that what he says, what he preaches, what he teaches will be a reflection of his own prayer, his own discernment and his own faith. And I don’t think we could ask for any more than that.”

Champagne at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday?  Absolutely for Chicago Argentinian Ramon Jimenez and his family, who run a small Argentine deli and liquor store on the northwest side called Buenos Aires.

He compares today’s news to winning a major sports championship.

“When you heard his name, I started like when you make a goal,” he says. “I jumped.  I started screaming!”

Members of the Argentinian community in Chicago used many of the same words to describe Pope Francis: Humble and caring.  But they say he isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in.

“He’s been a strong protector of poor class and middle class and he has been a strong outspoken person against the government,” says Ana Fau.

It’s a day of great pride for Argentinians.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church today, and said he would take the name Francis.

Vatican City rejoices with news of new pope.

WGN-TV’s Dina Bair was in St Peter’s Square for Wednesday’s announcement and spoke to observers who braved the rain to witness history.

Six time zones away and the news of a new pope in Rome created excitement here in Chicago.

As the celebratory bells peeled for 10 minutes outside Holy Name Cathedral, Catholics around the world rejoiced over the announcement of Pope Francis, just yesterday a cardinal from Argentina, today the head of the Roman Catholic Church 1.2 billion strong.

The importance of the role is clear to Catholics as far away as Chicago. The Pope asked for prayers for him as the church introduced the pontiff to the world.

And churchgoers here responded at 5:15 mass. What’s typically a somber place for prayer during Lent, today, the Mass of Thanksgiving was full of changes to songs and readings to reflect the joyous nature of the day. Gold and white bunting was hung  out front, a symbol of celebration for the city to see.

People shared their optimism after mass. Jorge Bergoglio now a pope destined, they agree, to set the church on the right course.

While the Holy Father may be a new face and name to people worldwide, he is familiar to Monica Mavric Beltrami. She is from Argentina and is now a judge at the Chicago Archdiocese. She has met him twice since 2009.  She calls him approachable, a good listener and humble in every way, not waiting for others to wait on him.

The church has made its choice.  Catholics in Chicago are settling into the idea of Pope Francis at the top.

Along with the tradition of naming a new pope, there’s the symbolism. The name Francis is in reference to St. Francis of Assisi– who shares much in common with the new pope.
Sister Alicia Torres from the Franciscans of the Eucharist spoke about the importance.

The newly elected Pope Francis and Roman Catholic cardinals will hold a Mass in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel tomorrow.

He is the first pontiff elected from both the western and southern hemispheres and the first Jesuit but who is the newly elected Pope Francis?

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina has been announced as the new Pope.

Bergoglio, 76, has chosen the name Francis, according to Vatican Radio.

He is the first pope from outside of Europe in the modern era, the first South American pope, and the third straight non-Italian pope.

Crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square — as well as millions of people watching on television around the world — were fixed upon the balcony where the new pope appeared for the first time.

“As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome,” he told a cheering crowd of thousands packed into St. Peter’s Square. “It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosed one who is from faraway. … Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace.”

Here in Chicago,  the election of a new pope will be marked by a Mass of Thanksgiving (Mass for the Pope) celebrated at Holy Name Cathedral at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The mass is open to the public.

Moments after the newly elected Pope Francis addressed a large Vatican City crowd for the first time since being elected pontiff, a message on the pope’s Twitter account — which had been dormant since Benedict XVI stepped down — said, “Habemus Papam Franciscum.” That translates, from Latin, as, “We have Pope Francis.”

The result of the vote was heralded by white smoke rising from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel. Bells also rang just after 7 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), confirming that the 115 cardinals had elected the man who will succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned unexpectedly last month.

Seventy-seven votes were required to confirm a new pontiff to step into the shoes left empty by the historic resignation of Benedict XVI at the end of last month.

WGN’s Dina Bair reports live from Vatican City moments after Pope Francis makes first appearance

New Pope Francis from Argentina dons a traditional stole and says a prayer. (CNN)