News coverage of Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church since March 2013. Born in Argentina in 1936 as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis represents many firsts for the role: He is the first pope from Latin America as well as from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first Jesuit to serve as pope.
He succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, who retired. His papal name was chosen in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. At the time of his election, Diocese of Rochester representatives remarked that the choice was a wise one because the church is Latin America is vibrant and growing.