The new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergogio, who is 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
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.
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.
Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.
Local students at St. John's Catholic School celebrated the announcement of the new pope.
The students gathered in their courtyard for a special prayer ceremony celebrating the election of the new pope.
Wednesday, they gathered in their classrooms to see the white smoke on the Vatican website indicating the election and what this means for the catholic church.
“They really got into it and they were definitely wanting to do a prayer for the new pope and Mr. Boss who was one of the golden apple award winners for channel 7. There was no one better than for him to lead us in a prayer for Pope Francis," said Principal Katcie Hoffman.
Many catholic churches across the country and Florida were crowded Wednesday with people praying for the new pope.