NEW POPE CHOSEN - Pope Francis I
Donstan Bonn and Louis Homer
The new Pope, formally known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina has chosen the new name Pope Francis I. He was ordained Cardinal by the late Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is the 266th Pope in the Catholic Church.
The announcement came two days after the conclave convened, comprising 115 Cardinals from around the world, following the resignation of Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.
Trinidad and Tobago's representative to the Vatican who is based in Port of Spain, Archbishop Nicolas Girasoli told the Express " For me personally I am extremely happy at the selection. I had worked
with this Cardinal when I served in Argentina. He is a simple man loved by all especially the poor, and he is respected for his simplicity and love for the poor"
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar this afternoon congratulated the Roman Catholic Community on the announcement of the election of a new Pope by the College of Cardinals.
According to a statement form the Office of the Prime Minister, "The Prime Minister who closely monitored the developments since the conclave commenced on Monday 11th March, 2013 says that she is “immensely pleased that the International Roman Catholic Community finally has a Pontiff to lead his flock through the difficult terrain of modern day spiritual life.”
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar intends to send an official congratulatory letter to the new Pope tomorrow.
- the following is an Associated Press (AP) report on events.
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict - who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
After announcing `'HabemusPapum" - `'We have a pope!" - a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.
The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out a few minutes past 7 p.m., many shouting "HabemusPapam!" or "We have a pope!" - as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.
Chants of `'Long live the pope!" arose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia.
They played the introduction to the Vatican and Italian anthems and the crowd, which numbered at least 50,000, joined in, waving flags from countries around the world.
"I can't explain how happy I am right down," said Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumping up and down in excitement.
Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.
For comparison's sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 - but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.
Patrizia Rizzo ran down the main boulevard to the piazza with her two children as soon as she heard the news on the car radio. "I parked the car ... and dashed to the square, she said. "It's so exciting, as Romans we had to come."