ROME (KSDK) -- It's a new day in Rome and a new era for the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is now Pope Francis. He's the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit and the first named Francis.
NewsChannel 5's Mike Bush was in St. Peter's Square with thousands of people when white smoke emerged from the chimney above the Sistine chapel and about an hour later, the masses were introduced to the new leader of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was greeted with thunderous applause from a crowd of 100,000 people.
He is a theological conservative who is also hailed for his compassion towards the poor. The 76-year-old is the first Jesuit leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
He will make history yet again Thursday by becoming the first pope in more than 600 years to meet his predecessor. Francis will travel to the hillside papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo to greet the pope emeritus, who is living there temporarily after abdicating on February 28.
Francis will be formally installed as the church's new leader on Tuesday.
The new pope's election has broken Europe's centuries-old grip on the papacy, and his choice of name - in honor of the 12th century saint from Assisi - is widely seen as a nod to a new era of simplicity and humility.
For additional information, visit the 'Electing the Pope' section.