Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Francisco Fever: You Had Me at Buonasera

Sprinted home from Momo pick up with Nike-like speed when I got a Nolan text that read "white smoke!" (Thighs are still thanking me.)

Parked in front of NBC (because it's the closest channel to PBS, which was inexplicably still playing Wordworld while actual history was unfolding.

Beamed when I read a text from my friend Regina that said her kindergartner just asked if God was better than the Pope, looking with her child-eyes at the feverish excitement in the Piazza.  

Still want to know what the crowd was chanting while they waited for the doors to open, and our new Papa to step out. Because I'm pretty sure Jude was wrong when he guessed it was "We want Pope! We want Pope!"

Prayed for the man I knew was standing behind that door, preparing to change the course of the world's history by his mere entrance onto the balcony. No doubt more overwrought with emotion than I was, although that was hard to believe.

Took one last glance at the article my dad sent with a list of "runners and riders." (It was useless.)

Held my breath during the awkward and short announcement, that left all the commentators somewhat befuddled, as the name was not familiar.

Allayed confusion among my brilliant progeny who couldn't understand why they kept showing a curious man with our beloved JPII (I swear someone asked, "Is Pope John Paul going to be the pope again?")

The name Francisco echoed back and forth in my little brain with an unexpected sweetness, humbleness and wholeness.

Tears came to my eyes when my sister Annie called while we waited for our first vision of the man in white, to remind me that St. Francis' Christ given task was "Rebuild my church."

Completely charmed when this smiling priest, confident but modest and unassuming, greeted with generous authority the booming crowd, and first of all, the Romans.

Brushed off Jude who joked it was anticlimactic because he thought the new guy could at least do a back flip onto the Piazza.

Breathed in the feeling of worldwide solidarity as I and my teenage sons, quiet for once, received the first blessing of Francis I.

Gave him my heart when he said, " I leave you now...Tomorrow I go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome."

Swooned with the rest of the world as details of this unexpected (by the public) election began to trickle in to an unprepared media: uses public transportation, lives in a small apartment heated with a stove, has a great love for the poor.

Keep re-reading this prophetic article by Jesuit Father John O'Brien.

Already started memorizing with the kids the Prayer of St. Francis:

With jubilation read my Vatican reporter friend, Mary Nolan's, assessment: "They didn't choose a curia man or even a seasoned international, but a pastor. A simple pastor. He is also a beautiful and I think poignant blend of orthodox theology and concern for social justice. Ha! We CAN have them both.. and we should."

 Viva Il Papa!


  1. I am so happy. And absolutely love your play-by-play. What a good Father God is, knowing how to give good gifts to us, His children. What a good Papa He has given us!

  2. My play by play would be a lot like yours, minus the kids, J was taking a nap, all else were at school, but with the addition of my leopard print snuggie, a Starbucks refresher and a chocolate bar. Hey, I obv wasn't getting a nap after white smoke.

    1. Starbucks and chocolate? I would have rather been with you!

  3. Love this! Brought a tear to my eye remembering. :-)


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