Thursday, 14 March 2013

Francis our Pope

Habemus Papam!

Yesterday the seminarians were flicking between Sky News, the BBC, and EWTN for coverage of the smoke at 5.30 pm. I realised that it was the first likely chance that we would have a pope, and had been saying so to the Missionaries of Charity down the road (who have to go to a neighbour's house to watch any TV!). As it got closer to 6 pm, the few seminarians in the Common Room began to think something was up, and when the smoke finally appeared there were a few suspenseful seconds until we realised it was white - then someone ran off to ring the chapel bell and alert the community!

Over the next hour, more of the seminarians and staff priests gathered in the Common Room, and the atmosphere was buzzing. Who could it be? What name would they take?

When the new Pope was announced, no one in the room seemed to know who he was! Who's Bergoglio? Where is he from? And we caught from the latin that his papal name would be Francis. A new name! How exciting!

I won't go into a biography of Pope Francis, as I still am learning, and I'm sure people know who he is from the news. First from the Americas, first Jesuit. Suffice to say that his simple, integral lifestyle is encouraging, and already a great witness to the world and a model for priests and seminarians. Authentic renewal in the Church begins with ourselves! I like what I've heard about his contravening security conventions to talk with the ordinary people of Rome and go check out of the hotel he's been staying in since he arrived in Rome!

Next week we have a silent retreat, but I'm sure things will be arranged so that we can watch the Pope's installation on Tuesday...

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