Pope Francis's sister asks world to pray for him

Buenos Aires, Mar 14 (EFE).- Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, never wanted to be pontiff but will have to deal with the tough job he has been handed, his sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, told Argentina's C5N cable news channel on Thursday.

"We must pray for him alot," Maria Elena said, adding that she still cannot believe her brother was elected Bishop of Rome.

"It's been a really big shock, I am still living it, I was not expecting him to be elected pope. Poor man, the emotions he must have felt hearing the people shout 'Long live the pope!'" Maria Elena told C5N from her house in Ituzaingo, a city in Buenos Aires province.

The 76-year-old former archbishop of Buenos Aires "did not want to be pope" when he finished second in the election to succeed John Paul II in 2005 and "I prayed for him not to be," Maria Elena said.

"By the grace of God I was able to travel and meet John Paul II, when the new cardinals presented their families to the pope. When he touched me as I knelt and kissed the papal ring, I raised my eyes and have never seen such a look of love and loneliness, the two things together," Maria Elena said.

"This is a historic event, he is the first non-European pope, Latin American, Argentine, and he got it, him, my brother," Maria Elena Bergoglio said.

"I feel we have to pray a lot for him because we are living in a very troubled world at a difficult time for the church, we need God permanently," Maria Elena said.