VATICAN CITY -- On his first full day as pope, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio could do something no other pope has had the option of doing for centuries: meet with a predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Bergoglio, 76, the cardinal from Buenos Aires, Argentina, from now on to be known as Pope Francis, is the first pope ever from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope.
He's also the first pope in 600 years to serve after his predecessor resigned, meaning Francis will have the unusual opportunity to confer with a living former pope.
After Bergoglio was chosen by his peers Wednesday, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told reporters Francis expressed a desire to meet with Benedict today -- though plans for such a meeting have yet to be confirmed by the Vatican.
"Very touchingly," Dolan said Wednesday, "he said tomorrow -- we knew we were going to have Mass with him in the Sistine Chapel -- he said, 'Is it OK if we have Mass in the afternoon together because in the morning I want to visit former Pope Benedict?' which is very beautiful."
Benedict has retired to Castel Gondolfo, approximately 30 miles away from the Vatican.
Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying this morning at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The coming days will be busy ones for Pope Francis.
Besides a possible meeting with Benedict today, as Dolan noted, the new pope will celebrate a Mass at the altar in front of Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel, as dictated by tradition, and he will pray at Rome's St. Mary Major basilica.
On Friday, he will hold an audience with the cardinals in the Sala Clementina in the Apostolic Palace.
On Saturday, it will be time to meet the media: a morning session with journalists in the Paul VI Audience hall. Finally, on Sunday, the pope will recite the Angelus from the window of his papal apartment.
The main event, though, will come Tuesday morning with the new pontiff's installation mass. The ceremony will take place on the church feast day of St. Joseph, a holiday for many in Rome, and Father's Day in Italy. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the delegation from the United States.
With papal appointments also a possibility in the coming days, it will be a busy period for the church's 266th pontiff. After already making history with his election, the job of leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics now begins in earnest.
When Bergoglio appeared on a balcony overlooking a packed St. Peter's Square on Wednesday night, the crowd of about 150,000 who had gathered on the cold, wet night erupted in applause, waving flags, singing songs and cheering the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The enthusiastic, emotional reaction to the newly elected Pope Francis, who wore a simple wooden cross, stood in contrast to the low-key remarks he gave soon after.
As the first Latin American to lead the church, the first Jesuit and the first non-European in centuries, his election as pontiff is a historic one, one that left some of the devoted in the square overcome with excitement and simple disbelief.
"I started crying. I couldn't stop it," said Santiago Gonzalez Cutre of Argentina.
Another Argentine in Vatican City for the occasion, Victor Nunez de la Rosa, said he still could not believe his countryman had become the next pope.
Rafael Castro from Honduras hailed Bergoglio's election as "amazing" and "incredible."
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From Vatican City to Buenos Aires and elsewhere across the globe, reaction to the new pope was positive.
In the Argentine capital, hundreds of people gathered at the city's Metropolitan Cathedral. The country has the 11th largest population of Catholics in the world.
Back in Rome, Mayor Gianni Alemanno said he greeted the new pontiff's election with "wonderful emotion," lauding the "great simplicity" of his first remarks as pope.
Dolan, who had been considered a frontrunner entering the conclave, offered nothing but praise for the victor. The archbishop of New York described Pope Francis as "simple," "humble" and "sincere" at a news conference Wednesday evening, as evidenced by a gesture the new pontiff made when greeting cardinals after his election.
"He didn't go up on the platform and sit down in the special chair. He just stayed down and greeted each of us," Dolan said. "He's already won our hearts. He obviously won our hearts because he's the new pope."
Copyright 2013 by ABC News