We have a Pope! As a Catholic, today was such a beautiful, exciting day, one that I will never forget! I was a senior in high school when Benedict XVI was elected, and being homeschooled I was able to watch everything on TV. This time, thanks to technology and the iPhone, I was able to watch as our new Pope Francis was presented to the world!
I was at lunch with a couple friends from work, and Kristin had the “smoke stack feed” streaming live on her iPhone. In the middle of lunch, I looked down at the phone (which was set on the table) and exclaimed, “Look you guys, it’s white! It’s white smoke!” It was such an awesome moment to share with Kristin and Carolyn. After the white smoke appeared, there was a waiting period until we found out who it was, and I was on pins and needles!
Then there he was, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who chose the name Francis. (And just in case there is ANY question, he chose the name specifically after St. Francis of Assisi and NOT St. Francis Xavier!) Instantly his humility and kindheartedness came across – on a personal level, I felt more of a connection to him than I did with Benedict. Pope Francis reminds me a little bit of John Paul II; granted, no one will replace our beloved JP II, but Francis mirrors him a little more than Benedict. Tonight at home, I watched some of the videos posted online, and here are some quotes from a Fox News commentary:
He’s a “man of the people, the man who rides the bus.”
He’s “nobody’s puppet.”
“He’s a saint, he’s a holy man.”
Pope Francis is the first Jesuit priest to become the Vicar of Christ; he is a “well-educated, humble, and steady man.”
“I think we’re going to find a man with a big heart….He doesn’t put himself first, he’s a servant.”
Already stories are emerging of Pope Francis’ servant leadership and attitude, his love for the poor (he goes to visit people with AIDS and has literally washed their feet), and his staunchness for traditional values. When he was an archbishop and later cardinal, he did not live in the mansion that the “top brass” of the Church normally reside in. He took the city bus every day to work, and according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, after he was elected Pope and the cardinals were heading back to the residence they had occupied during the conclave – Francis quietly decided to forego the fancy papal vehicle and instead rode the bus as “one of the guys”! When he emerged from behind the curtain for his first appearance as pope, he wore just the plain white papal garb – without the fancy dark red and gold vestment the new pope would usually wear. (He only put it on for the formal blessing over the people.) But before he gave the formal blessing, he bowed down and asked the people to pray over him….in essence saying, I cannot do this without your love and support. I need you and I want you to be part of this whole process. That was a profound moment. I think this is just a glimpse of what we can expect from Pope Francis – I believe he is truly going to be “the people’s pope” and exactly the type of Catholic shepherd we so desperately need in these times of strife.
“Francis, rebuild my Church, for you see it has fallen into ruin.” ~Jesus to St. Francis of Assisi
Videos I enjoyed:
http://video.foxnews.com/v/2223916171001/ – video of his speech and blessing
http://video.foxnews.com/v/2224065158001/ – Fr. Jonathan Morris of Fox News, commentary
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/03/13/cardinal-dolan-to-ny-press-on-not-being-voted-pope-i-told-ya-so/ – article and video of Cardinal Dolan, giving an insider’s take of the conclave process and Pope Francis