Facts about Pope Francis I

Who is Pope Francis I?

pope francis election

Pope Francis I is the 266th pope.  The white smoke that signalled a new pope had been elected plumed on March 13th 2013, at the end of the second day of the papal conclave.

After the vote had been made, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was formally asked, in Latin, by the most senior of the electing cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re: “Do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff?” He was then asked by which name he wanted to be called, robed in the Room of Tears, given time to pray, and then taken out onto the balcony at the Vatican to be shown to the world.
People were very surprised that he had been elected pope, and many did not know who he was. But his humbleness, openness, and his straightforward, no-nonsense manner soon endeared him to the hearts of the faithful and the world.

Has there been a Pope Francis before?

This is the first time that a pope has chosen Francis as his regnal name. He picked the name, Francis, in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi,  who is the founder of the worldwide Franciscan order, champion of the poor and patron of animals and the environment, to name but two. Pope Francis has great concern for the poor and has called the Church and the world to action to help those afflicted by poverty.

Where is he from?

Pope Francis was born on December 17th, 1936 in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, South America. He is the son of Italian parents. He joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) as a novice and was ordained priest in 1969. He became archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and a cardinal in 2001.

A pope of many firsts

Pope Francis has brought in a new style to the papacy. He does not care much for the frills and fanciness that go with being pope. One with break with the norm is that he has chosen to live in the Vatican Guesthouse instead of the Papal Residence.

He is the pope of many firsts.  He is the:

  • first pope born outside of Europe since Pope Gregory III
  • first pope from the Americas
  • first Jesuit pope
  • first pope since the 121st pope, Pope Lando (913-914),  to choose a name that has not already been used.

What is Pope Francis’ motto?

He has chosen the motto, ‘By having mercy, by choosing him’.

What does Pope Francis’ papal crest look like?




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