14 March 2013

Thoughts on the 'new guy'...Pope Francis

WOW. Did that all just happen...yesterday was a GREAT day Catholics all over the world.  Yes, I am enough of a church geek to have gotten excited by the white smoke. (Heck, I was entertained by the seagulls that were hanging around the smokestack as we all waited!)

Pope Francis...266th successor to St. Peter

Since I watched it all from white smoke to first official Pope spotting, these have been some of my thoughts in no particular order:

1.  Can you repeat the name one more time, I missed it the first time?!?!?!?  When the announcement of who our shepherd would be I immediately thought, "Who's that, I've never heard of that guy??" (as if that really mattered) I was really, really surprised to hear a name that was not mentioned in the past weeks (well played Holy Spirit!).  Honestly, I admit there was a momentary flash of disappointment when it wasn't one of the names I was thinking or was even familiar with.  When he first came out he seemed kind of quiet, almost shy and maybe even a little nervous or uncomfortable...I kept thinking to myself, "He's just standing there, do something new Pope!"  HOWEVER that soon began changing when I began to hear more of the life story of this humble, loving servant.

2.  I can't help thinking Pope Francis is like discovering some really cool uncle I never met in my life until now! And now I'm like, "Score! New person in my family!" :)

3.   This. picture. 

When I was watching the live streaming of Pope Francis' first appearance to the world, the camera would occasionally show close ups of his face.  At one point in the middle of watching this live, I started thinking about what his experience could have been like in the "Room of Tears."  What was he thinking...what could have possibly been going through this man's head???  To be chosen by the cardinals to launch forward the mission of the Church in new ways.  To be asked to carry on the mission of Jesus as his rep on earth. To imagine this kind, sweet looking man humbled before his brothers and God...to accept SUCH a huge spiritual and emotional task; it really took my breath away and brought me to tears.  Seriously.  Stop and think about that for a few minutes. 
Just even imagining seeing all of that through his eyes...is! un! real!

4.  This is a humble man...just listen to all these facts coming in about him.  He chose to live in a small apartment heated by a stove instead of the palace, cooks his own meals, takes the public bus, and oh yeah washes and kisses the feet of AIDS patients!?!?!? That's like kissing the lepers, right?
And then just observing such deep humility when he first greeted the people: first he prays for B16 and asks the crowds to join in, bowed before the people asking them to pray for him in silence, and then he prayed over all of us. Seriously, at that moment, Pope Francis did have to say much more of anything at all, he had me at hello.  He has a deep love and heart for the poor.  Yes, he is still Catholic (sorry media:); teaching on faith and morals will not change...but he is also passionate about social justice, and I'm guessing he will combine deep love of it all together in a new way perhaps we have never seen before.  He has stood up against injustices with the government and has fought for the rights of the Church in Argentina.  Heck, he was exiled by his own religious order, the Jesuit's.  He would simply go out and walk amid the streets of his city back home simply talking to the people, meeting them where they were at and just get to know them.  Can we say 'New Evangelization 101'?

On break last night during my Trinity/Christology class, I saw an interview with Cardinal Dolan where he told reporters the surprising story of how the newly elected pope decided to take the bus back to the hotel Wednesday with the rest of the cardinals instead of riding in the Holy Father’s car.

“So we take the buses over and the cardinals kind of wait outside to greet the new Holy Father as he comes back to Doma Santa Marta…and as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off the bus? Pope Francis,” Dolan said. “So I guess he told the driver, ‘That’s OK. I’ll just go with the guys on the bus.’”  WOW.  I'm really looking forward to learning more about him and seeing letters/books/encyclicals he writes in the future. 
Taking the bus with the cardinals...just one of the guys ;-)

5.  World Youth Day this July in Rio is gonna. be. off. the. hook.  Who would have thought when I signed up for this adventure, we would be welcoming a new Pope only months before our pilgrimage???  A WYD in South America with the first South American Pope!?!?  I have a slight feeling everybody and their brother in South America is going to turn up for this...currently Rio is preparing for 2 million people, but now I'm thinking the numbers may increase ever so slightly? ;-)
Holy Father, I eagerly look forward to celebrating and learning from you this summer in Rio! 

P.S. Dear Pope Francis, I would REALLY, REALLY love to get a good shot of you at some point while in Rio, if you can remind the driver of the Popemobile to slow down a little (he went too fast for me in Sydney), I greatly would appreciate that.  Thank you very much.


 6.  I cannot help finding how funny/unique are the ways of God.  In Scripture, we hear "Your ways are not my way, says the Lord."  This conclave and election of a new Pope remind a strong headed control freak like myself of that at exciting times like this.  EVERYBODY had their 'top picks' or 'favorites', and sure I was in that crowd too.  By the time there was a white smoke spotting, I think many were waiting/hoping to hear 'their guy' being named.  But being so surprised as we all clearly were last night reminds that no matter what we are not in control of this election or anything in life.  God's got this under control, so let's all sit back, and enjoy and learn from our new shepherd.  I'm really looking forward to Pope Francis...it's like he's that surprise Christmas gift you get as a kid you weren't planning on, but then in the end, it turns off rocking off your socks!

7.  This is too fun to not share...for those of you who have seen 'Elf' you'll enjoy it:)

I really do love being Catholic, not in some blind belief kind of way, but in a lively and dynamic, joyful way.  As the Church embarks on this new journey with Pope Francis, I can't wait to see what's in store with him...something tells me it's gonna be exciting :)


  1. LOVE this. I agree 100% - my family made the comment to me that it seems like we have all fell in love with the Pope already.

    Viva Papa Francis!

    God bless,

    Chloe M.

    1. I agree with you! 2 days on the job, and he's already a big hot with me/many others :)

  2. I completely identify with so much of what you said in this post. I can't wait for an official picture of him to come out because I want to frame it and put it by the front door. I've never hung up photos of the other Popes; but I think the older I get, the more I grow in my faith and I want those daily reminders--like pictures, you know?

    1. I'm already looking for pictures online to hang in our youth rook for teens :)

  3. We really wanted to go to WYD for our honeymoon of sorts (obviously wouldn't have been a traditional honeymoon but you get what I mean). While we're not going, I'm so jealous you are! I love this new pope already, he's awesome. And so humble.
    God truly worked through that day!

    1. That's funny, cause initially my hubs and I wanted to go to the Holy Land for our honeymoon but we're glad in the end we did something more traditional...all I know is when I get home from past WYD's I am pooped...and hey there's always the next one too! ;-)


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