And he opened his pontificate with a visit to Rome’s main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary early this morning.
The visit came the day after cardinals elected him the first Pontiff from the Americas.
The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, entered the basilica through a side entrance and left about 30 minutes later.
“He spoke to us cordially like a father,” said Father Ludovico Melo, a priest who prayed with him. “We were given 10 minutes’ advance notice that the Pope was coming.”