Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam

March 13, 2013 was the second day of the conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI. Each vote brings with it, anticipation and excitement, but also comes the slight possibility of disappointment. At least many felt that disappointment Wednesday morning when black smoke rose once again from the Sistine Chapel after another round of voting that did not bring about an election. I arrived just after the vote because of my morning classes, so although I was disappointed for not being present to see the smoke, a side of me was elated this time because it meant I did not miss the moment we all wait to see.

The world waited for the white smoke and the bells to ring. While the world waited through television, radio and internet, those of us blessed to be in Rome waited under the stormy clouds and wet weather. Even though it was not ideal waiting weather, I didn't hear anyone around me complain. Sure we all wanted it to happen sooner than later, but the electricity of being with thousands in St. Peter's Square was enough to keep us warm and help us not to mind the less than ideal weather.

5:30pm Rome time came and went with no white smoke. This meant all of us gathered would have to wait until at least 7:30pm to see if the Church would be given a new successor of Peter. It was amazing just how many more people filled the square. We were either in for a major disappointment or a grand celebration. Once the clock turned 7:00pm, the people were waiting and hoping to see what was about to emerge from the chimney installed at the Sistine Chapel.

Could it be? Is it black or is it white? White, white, it is white! Habemus Papam! We have a Pope! The crowds gathered in St. Peter's square erupted with cheers, smiles, and elation. What an honor to be present in the midst of this celebration! What a great moment to be a Catholic! Probably only something a Catholic could fully understand.  For to us the Pope is more than just a man. The Pope represents Christ to His Church. The Pope serves as the Vicar of Christ on earth fulfilling the teaching of the Lord that He would never leave us as orphans or without a Shepherd for His sheep.

It wasn't until one hour later the world would be introduced to the New Pope. Who will it be? What name will he have chosen? These are the thoughts that go through the minds of all waiting with anticipation.

It was then as the curtains were opened and the Cardinal announced, "Habemus Papam" that the world would be introduced to His Holiness, Pope Francis!


  1. Fr. Erik,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. What a blessing for you to be there. May God continue you to bless you. You are in our prayers. We miss your sermons. :-)

    Holy Family Church