When I checked facebook from my work computer on Wednesday (we were dead slow all day) I was shocked to see a picture of white smoke in my news feed. So soon! I was expecting at least a day or two more of voting. I did a quick news search via Bing and Google and saw nothing but the same old headlines decrying the Cardinals’ inability to select a new pope. So, of course, I pulled up the live feed on EWTN and there it was! White smoke pouring from the chimney, the bells chiming, the crowd cheering–Habemus Papam! I was able to watch for the next hour (dead slow at work, I tell ya!) as we waited with such great anticipation. I ended up having a customer walk in, so I actually missed the formal announcement!
When I got back to my computer, his name had been announced, but he hadn’t appeared yet. My fingers flew as fast as they could: “Cardinal Jorge Bergol Aregentina,” (I was in no position to try to spell Bergoglio without seeing it first!) “Cardinal Buenos Aires,” “first Jesuit pope,” “Pope Francis.” The information I took in as I briefly scanned the results before doing another search was thrilling to say the least!
- “champion of the poor”
- “washed feet of AIDS victims”
- “prepared his own meals”
- “simplicity and pastoral humility”
And he took the name Francis! Now, that’s making a statement!
It was a marvel to finally see Pope Francis, successor of Saint Peter, step out onto the balcony for the first time. My heart was so full, I thought I would burst into tears right then and there. After so much speculation, so much uncertainty, there he was, so poised, so full of peace. Standing there in the plain white papal vestments, he looked as if he had been pope forever.
As he began to speak, of course, I didn’t understand a word of it until he started to lead the crowd in prayer. While I didn’t know what the words were, as soon as they started saying the “Our Father” and then the “Glory Be” and the “Hail Mary” I understood what it meant. It was a few minutes of pure bliss.
Thank you, God, for hearing our prayers! We were so uncertain looking at this candidate or that candidate, but now it’s clear as can be: this is the shepherd we need!