VATICAN CITY (WACH/AP) -- The Catholic church has chosen a new pope -- Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Bergoglio, who will go by the name Pope Francis, is the first pontiff from Americas.
"You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome," Pope Francis said to the crowd gatherd in St. Peter's Square. "It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome."
Pope Francis asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose resignation paved the way for his election.
Pope Francis who is 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
The 76-year-old often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.
At around 2:00 local time in Vatican City, white smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning 115 cardinals in a papal conclave have elected a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The new pope appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, after a church official announces "Habemus Papum" -- "We have a pope."
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
The new pope can't move into the papal apartment just yet.
He will remain with the cardinals at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel, an impersonal modern hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens where they have been sequestered since the beginning of the conclave.
He will spend his first night as pontiff in a room that features a bed with a dark wood headboard and a carved image of Christ's face, as well as a sitting area and a study.
The new pope is expected to stay there for a few weeks until the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace can be renovated. The apartment was sealed Feb. 28, just after Benedict resigned, and cannot be reopened until the new pope formally takes possession.
The pope's Twitter account, whose profile was changed to read "Sede Vacante" when Benedict stepped down, now has been switched back to "@Pontifex."
A list of popes from the 20th and 21st centuries:
Pope Francis -- March 13, 2013-
Benedict XVI -- April 19, 2005-Feb. 28, 2013.
John Paul II -- Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005.
John Paul I -- Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978.
Paul VI -- June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978.
John XXIII -- Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963.
Pius XII -- March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958.
Pius XI -- Feb. 6, 1922-Feb. 10, 1939.
Benedict XV -- Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922.
Pius X -- Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914.
Leo XIII -- Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903.