Pope Francis meets with world's journalists

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VATICAN CITY -- In his first semi-public audience, Pope Francis greeted many of the 5,600 journalists who covered his election, speaking in Italian and sometimes going off-script from the text he read from.

He drew laughter when he looked up and said, "You've worked hard,huh?" Many had worked virtually around the clock for weeks, and had spent a full day rain-soaked and shivering in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, watching for white smoke and then the announcement of the new pope.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, also told how he had chosen his name in the conclave. When his election appeared close, his good friend Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, whispered "Don't forget the poor."

Pope Francis meets with the media

Pope Francis meets with the media to thank them for their coverage of his election. (Video by Ann Rodgers; edited by Melissa Tkach; 3/17/2013)

"When I thought of the poor, I though of St. Francis of Assisi," Pope Francis told his the reporters. "And this is how this name came into my heart."

In a quintessential Franciscan moment he blessed the guide dog of Alessandro Forlani. A visually impaired journalist for a major Italian radio network, Mr. Forlani had come forward among some of the permanently accredited Vatican journalists and Vatican Press Office staff to receive a personal greeting from the pope.

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Ann Rodgers: arodgers@post-gazette.com.


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