One year ago on March 13, 2013, Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by his brother cardinals -- so moved by the Holy Spirit -- to lead the Catholic Church, and took the name Pope Francis.
In one year's time, the new pope has earned acclaim in both secular and religious arenas.
Time magazine named Pope Francis its "Person of the Year" in 2013. Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs explained Time's choice:
"Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly -- young and old, faithful and cynical -- as has Pope Francis. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power."
He even garnered Esquire magazine's title of "Best Dressed Man of 2013," beating out Bradley Cooper, Chris Pine, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The magazine praised the pontiff for his wardrobe's sincerity and simplicity.
On the occasion of his first anniversary as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the social media-savvy Pope Francis tweeted just one message Thursday, asking for prayers.
Please pray for me.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 13, 2014
Vatican Radio ran a story Thursday to mark the anniversary entitled "Pope Francis: looking back on his election," describing in detail the atmosphere in St. Peter's Square as the announcement of a newly elected pope was shared.
"St. Peter’s Square was a sea of humanity -- citizens, out-of-towners & foreigners, everyone suddenly alike a pilgrim -- and late afternoon had given way to twilight, and now, night had fallen over the city of Rome. Then, suddenly, at 7:05 PM Rome Time, smoke appeared from the top of the stove-pipe chimney erected above the Sistine Chapel. Gray at first, and emerging by starts, the smoke in short order began to pour forth in great billows -- unmistakably white, now -- the traditional signal that the cardinals in conclave had elected a new bishop of Rome, and that their choice had accepted his election -- but the bells that all had been told to expect in confirmation of the signal had yet to be heard. When they did come, Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges made the call, live on air."