THE new head of the Catholic church has been welcomed – and urged to lead "according to God's will".
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of Argentina, greeted thousands of well-wishers at St Peter's Square at Vatican City last night.
The 76-year-old, who will be known as Pope Francis I, is the first Pope born outside of Europe.
Addressing the crowds, said he came from the "other end of the world".
He also conducted a prayer for "pope emeritus" – former Pontiff Benedict XVI – who he is thought to have been runner-up to at the last conclave in 2005.
Pope Francis I also delivered a blessing to "all men and women of good will" and called for "brotherhood" in the Church.
Pius Valummelmlayil, of St Mary's Church, Carmarthen, said: "It is very happy news. We pray that he may lead the church according to God's will."
The Church in Wales last night welcomed the election of Pope Francis I.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said: "We welcome and assure Pope Francis of our prayers and our best wishes for his future ministry.
"We hope he will bring an e***enical perspective to the role, a desire to work with Christians of all traditions and a goodwill to people of all faiths."
Prior to his election, Pope Francis I served as an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998 – and was ordained for the Jesuits on in 1969.
Besides his native Spanish, Pope Francis speaks Italian and German.
Just before his appearance at St Peter's Basilica yesterday evening, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the protodeacon, announced "Habemus Papum" – or "We have a Pope" – and gave the name of the new Pontiff in Latin.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "A momentous day for the 1.2bn Catholics around the world as His Holiness Pope Francis I is appointed the 266th Bishop of Rome."
Pope Benedict XVI's successor was chosen by 115 cardinal-electors during a secret election at the Sistine Chapel.
A two-thirds-plus-one vote majority was required.
Canon Law states that any male who has been baptised is eligible to be elected, but since the late 14th Century the Pope has come from this body of Princes of the Church.
A post once almost exclusively held by Italians has most recently been filled by a Pole and a German.
Some 42 per cent of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics now come from Latin America, as do a sixth of the cardinal-electors.