Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rocking Rome {Pope Francis}

A Jesuit and an Argentinian, our newly elected Pope Francis stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica yesterday to greet the whole world and to unite us in prayer.  Pope Francis' sudden entrance into our hearts and our lives as the leader of Christ's Church on Earth is a moment we won't soon forget...

An ordinary home school Wednesday became an extraordinary day in an instant, when a text message from alerted us:
White smoke!  We have a Pope!...Pope to be announced on TV soon.
Simultaneously, Zachary received a text from a friend alerting him to the breaking news, and began searching the Internet for validation of the spectacular announcement.

We quickly turned on our TV and tuned in to the Eternal Word Television Network for full (and fully Catholic) coverage of history in the making.  A long wait ensued, about an hour, during which the reporters bantered on about the various 'known' details of our new shepherd and his background.  The suspense almost sickening, we anxiously waited for the announcement while making quick phone calls to friends and family to spread the news.

Peter was in his pre-algebra class a few blocks away ~ we called the teacher and left a message for Peter to 'call home immediately.'  Sharing family news like this could not wait until after math class, and once Peter heard about the papal election, he asked to be allowed to leave class and return home to watch the historic events unfold on TV.  Zachary offered to shuttle him home, and since we weren't sure when the new pontiff would enter the scene, we pointed a laptop camera at the TV and Skyped Zac's mobile for an audio feed  during his short round trip to collect Peter.

When our new pope's name was broadcast from St. Peter's balcony in Latin, we initially (mis)understood him to be a Cardinal Francis somebody, not a Pope Francis, and for a minute or two we speculated upon our own US Francis Cardinal George.  Very soon the name followed in English: Jorge Mario Bergoglio; now Pope Francis, and another wait ensued as we excitedly anticipated catching our first glimpse of our new papa.

Not long after Pope Francis' debut on the balcony, Zachary found a newly launched Wikipedia page, which offered gleanings of our new pope's life and background.  Some of our initial curiosities satisfied, we were also gratified by news that as a bishop, our pope refused honors and expenses like housekeepers and private transportation, preferring to cook and clean for himself and ride public transportation.

Pre-conclave speculation with Nerf bullets
The boys had speculated for weeks on which name the new pope would take. Alas, not one of them nailed it although many Nerf bullets were fired at our prominently displayed papal poster in playful attempts to gain insight on future nomenclature by targeting papal head-shots from the past.  No one in our sphere guessed that the new pope would be a Francis! 

Their friendly wagers may soon be lost to memory, but the exciting Roman events of yesterday and 'meeting' our new pope via TV during a what began as an average home school day won't soon be forgotten.  Vive la Papa!

Tim and the boys study papal history in preparation for the conclave.

No comments: