Yesterday was such an exciting day for me. I love the suspense and anticipation of events like this. I love dropping everything, being glued to the TV waiting, knowing that I am joined by millions of people around the world. This is only the 2nd conclave that I was able to remember since I was too young to remember the conclaves of Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II.
I was waiting all morning long for the smoke to rise from the chimney, but I had to leave to go to church for my weekly Mom’s group. I think if it was anything else, but a trip to church, I would have stayed home. So there we sat in our group constantly checking our phones for an update, when the news came, WHITE SMOKE! I was so excited that I was like a dear in head lights. I need to get home. I need to see him come out on the balcony. I just couldn’t move fast enough, yet I knew I had at least 45 minutes to get home. So I jumped up and down yelling, “Habemus Papam!!” Unbeknownst to me the Bishops of our Diocese were having a meeting at our church. Everyone was slowly flooding our courtyard on their cell phones. They however were quietly calling people saying, “Habemus Papam”. Then you have me, the freak mom yelling and jumping up and down. I was almost in my car when I realized, I left my diaper bag upstairs! I couldn’t leave that behind, so I had to calm myself down and start thinking like a rational person.
The drive home seemed like it took forever (only 10 minutes). My youngest son was so tired, but he was also hungry. So I was keeping him awake to I could feed him when we got home. My almost 3 year old was looking at me strange while I kept screaming, “Habemus Papam!” I was a sight to behold. I made it home in time and no speeding tickets. I had to put the baby down for a nap. I couldn’t camp out in front of the television because he would never fall asleep. Oh the dilemma. Have no fear, I love my iPhone!! Headphones in and tuned into a live feed, I fed my son and put him down. God was good because our Pope didn’t come out during this time. So I laid my sleepy baby down and went downstairs to sit and finish waiting.
I sat texting my husband and several friends. I was following my FaceBook and twitter accounts. Then the announcement came. I wish I spoke Latin or Italian. It seems like minutes before someone came on to translate and tell us who the new Pope was. It was kind of anticlimactic as I sat there waiting. Then at last, Cardinal George Bergoglio, Pope Francis.
I watched as every station, even EWTN stunned at the selection and name. No one had words. Then he walked out onto the balcony. You could tell he was stunned too. I had no idea what he was saying, but his smile and the way he made the crowd laugh put me at ease immediately. Then he led us in familiar prayers. I sat there praying with the new Pope and millions of people around the world. I felt the unity of the Catholic Church. Then, the Pope lowered his head and asked us to pray for him. It has been something that I have been doing since Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement. Now I had a face and name to put to my prayers.
After Pope Francis left the balcony, all the news agencies scrambled to tell us about Cardinal Bergoglio. He’s a Jesuit, that’s a first. He’s from Argentina, first Pope from Latin America. No Pope has ever taken the name Francis. He lived in an apartment in downtown Buenos Aires, not the palatial palace that was available to him. He took public transportation, not the town car with driver that was available to him. He cooked for himself. He spoke out condemning the practice of not baptizing babies born out of wedlock. He visited the slums of Buenos Aires to care for the poor. The word humble kept being thrown out there. It fit what I saw on the balcony as Pope Francis asked up to pray for him first. I sat on my couch in awe of how the Holy Spirit works. I thanked God and apologized for worrying about who was going to be chosen. Jesus is truly in control of the church He established 2000 years ago.
I think the world is in for quite a surprise from this Pope. Already this morning he went to the hotel to pay his bill and retrieve his belongings. I am sure he could have delegated this simple task to someone else. Then he showed up unannounced at his favorite basilica in Rome to pray to our Lady. This papacy is going to different. I am hopeful. I still want to scream, “Habemus Papam!” and jump up and down, but I now have to unplug myself from the television and take care of some kids who want my attention!