Just back from St. Peter's Square where the atmosphere was electric - sorry, I know that's usually for a rock concert, but there's really no other word! It must have been the Holy Spirit. Shortly after 7pm, I was sitting in my office here in Rome glued to the papal smoke stack watching live as... more black, no wait, gray, no... actually WHITE smoke started to pour out.
I don't think I've ever changed into my Roman collar and suit so fast in my life, but I barely had time to think before I was practically sprinting to the subway. On the subway, off the subway, dashing down the sidewalk, sidestepping nuns, almost bowling over tourists, stopping for the official papal marching band (or something like that), and finally squeezing into the square and wriggling to the front. All of that in about a half of an hour. Not too bad!
The Square was already full of people singing, cheering, laughing, praying - doing just about everything. That is until the window opened, and, "Gaudium magnum..." We had Pope Francis I. Though most people were checking exactly who he was, since he didn't appear among the CNN frontrunners, he was a hit before he even came out. The Church was no longer "orphaned". We have our pastor! The first Jesuit. The first from the other side of the Atlantic. The first Francis!
I could go on, and I on, but I should let him talk for himself! (Taken from Zenit.)
Brothers and sisters, good evening!
You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as though my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are. I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has a bishop. Thank you!
Before all else, I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may watch over him …
[Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory be]
And now let us begin this journey, [together] as bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome, which is to preside over all the Churches in charity. It is a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust between us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the world, so that a great brotherhood may be created. I hope that this journey of the Church, which we begin today and in which my Cardinal Vicar who is present here will assist me, will be fruitful for the Evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give you my blessing. But before I do, I would like to ask you a favor: before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that He bless me…. the prayer of the people for a blessing upon their bishop. Let us take a moment of silence for you to offer your prayer for me.”
[Silence … the Holy Father bows]
[Cardinal N. says … “The Holy Father, Francesco …”]
“Now I will give you my blessing and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.”
Brothers and Sisters,
I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me. And we’ll see one another again soon. Tomorrow I want to go and pray to Our Lady, asking her to watch over Rome. Good night and have a good rest.
If you want to read more about Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, check out John Allen's piece here.