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Calling him "The People's Pope," Time magazine on Wednesday named Pope Francis its Person of the Year.

"What makes this pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church," Time said in its cover story announcing the news.Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario BergoglioBuenos Aires, Argentina

Pope Francis, 76, was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires. He was named archbishop of Argentina in 1998, became a cardinal in 2001 and was elected pope by the papal conclave in Vatican City on March 13.

Other contenders for the award included President Obama, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Syria's President Bashar Assad, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Edward Snowden, gay rights activist Edith Windsor and Miley Cyrus.