The new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina was picked to succeed Pope Benedict.
He took the name of Francis and will be called Pope Francis 1.
In Utah, Catholics cheered and offered hugs to one another as Pope Francis made his first appearance shortly after 1 p.m.
At St. John The Baptist Middle School school children yelled "viva la pope," as they watched the news on televisions setup by the school.
"I am excited that he comes from Argentina," says Bryan Carbajal.
He is one of three brothers attending the middle school that spent nine years in Argentina before coming to Utah.
"He was only one hours flight from our city," he says. "It's a great honor and I'm sure many in Argentina will be just as excited as we are."
And Pope Francis' appeal to Latinos and the youth may be his strength according to Monsignor Joseph Mayo of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese.
"It's a great indication that the church is emphasizing the southern hemisphere where the bulk of our Catholics are," says Monsignor Mayo. "There (in South America) is great potential of youth that look up to the holy father."
Monsignor Mayo concedes he was "shocked" at the selection.
"I knew nothing about him until today," he says.
But he looks forward to spending the coming hours, days and weeks to learn more about Pope Francis who is from the Jesuit Order.
He says Pope Francis lives a life of humility, choosing to live in an apartment and takes public transportation.
"That says the kind of person he wants to emulate at the Holy Father," says Monsignor Mayo.
Bishop John Wester was attending a bishops conference back East and was unavailable for comment. But in the past he told ABC4 News that he favored a pope from Latin America or Africa.