He had me at “good evening.” Those were the very first words that Pope Francis spoke to the Catholics of the world after he was elected by the College of Cardinals March 13.
I waited with other Catholics to see who would be elected as head of the Catholic Church. With anticipation, I watched as the first billows of black smoke rose on the first vote, signaling that no pope was yet elected. When the smoke rose for the third time, I was lucky enough to be glued to the live feed on my computer and was filled with joy as the white smoke puffed out of the chimney.
Working in the office for a Catholic newspaper definitely has its perks, and watching with my colleagues and friends in the editor’s office to see who would walk out on to the famed Vatican balcony as pope is one of them. I will remember the moment as we huddled around the television there, and will fondly look back on how joyful I felt as he invited those around the world to join him on “a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust.” What a beautiful sentiment.
With every new piece of information I find out about Pope Francis, I find I like him more and more. A few things that jumped out at me were the facts that he is known to ride the bus, cook his own meals, and used to live in a modest apartment. In addition to his being the first Pope Francis, he is also the first pope elected from the Americas, and the first Jesuit to be elected to that position.
What are your impressions of Pope Francis? Please share!