“How we remember, what we remember, and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality”
– writer Christina Baldwin
Today March 13, 2014 marks the First Anniversary of the papacy of Pope Francis. Looking back, it brings to mind that Wednesday night of March 13, 2013 when the conclave of 115 cardinal-electors of the Roman Catholic church, gathered inside the Sistine Chapel, elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, (born December 17, 1936) the archbishop of Buenos Aires as the 266th pontiff, due to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28, 2013.
We were watching the late night news when the TV Station cut into this news and shifted the focus onto the central balcony called “Loggia della Benedizion” above the main entrance on the façade of the Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, from where Cardinal Protodeacon (for the 2013 conclave) Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran would proclaim the newly elected Pope. Soon the announcement came:
- * Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; Habemus Papam:
- Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
- Dominum Georgium Marium
- Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
- qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum
Who? Bergoglio? As the world waited, the man in white robe finally made his first appearance before the rain-soaked crowds in the vast Piazza San Pietro, to give his solemn blessing “Urbi et Orbi”. Following the prayer for Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, the new Vicar of Peter from almost “the end of the world“, asked the faithful to pray to the Lord that he be blessed by Him – so that he may proceed with the mission as the Lord would wish. The crowd prayed, cheered and waved flags: Francesco! Francesco! A man clad in midnight-blue coveralls, with a look of happiness etched on his face, shouted: “Viva il Papa!“ “Viva il Papa!“. The journey Jorge Mario Bergoglio was destined to take has begun.
A year has now passed and during this period the bespectacled Holy Father’s days were a continuous thread of revelation about himself; about his thinking on a variety of issues: religion, politics, global issues, lifestyle, … As his pontificate acquired a definite shape, he reasserted himself as a man who had let the potent power of simplicity work in his life – a man who radiated love and charm and concern for the common man.
The Argentinian-born Pope who took the name of San Francesco de Assisi, Il Poverello (the little poor one), is currently on a Lenten spiritual of preaching and prayer at a spiritual retreat in the town of Ariccia, in the Alban Hills about 15 miles outside the Vaticano.
At this time, in the run-up to the Supreme Pontiff’s first Easter, I could envisage the long days ahead of him in the journey of fraternity, of love, of trust; and his efforts to promote, safeguard and symbolize the unity of the church. May he receive the benefit of our prayers to remain admirably robust and our wishes that all his days will be lit with the brightness of God whom he represents. Jo
* Note: English text of the announcement: “I announce to you, news of great joy: We have a Pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, Who takes for himself the name of Francis.”
- Photo credits (from top):
- 1.. The marble bas-relief “Delivery of the Keys” (Consegna delle chiavi) by Ambrogio Bonvicino (1552-1622) put up in 1614 just below the central balcony called “Loggia della Benedizion” (Loggia of the Benedictions) (May 19, 2010 – Photo by Andrea Lalis Sebastine)
- 2.. Pope Benedict XVI at Piazza San Pietro. (October 22, 2008, Manningtree Archive)
- 3.. Basilica di San Pietro, Vaticano (October 22, 2008 – Photo by Bianca Celine Diane)
- 4.. Pope Francis
- 5.. March 13, 2013: Pope Francis just after his election at the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica (author: Tenan – Source: http://en.wikipedia.org)
- 6.. San Francesco d’Assisi – painting by Cimabue (part of Frescoes in the Church of San Francesco, Assisi) – (Source: commons.wikimedia.org)
- 7.. Pope Francis (Source: en.wikinews.org)
- 8.. Pope Benedict XVI at his window on the third floor of the papal apartments facing Piazza San Pietro. (March, 2005, Manningtree Archive)
- 9.. Pope Benedict XVI during his weekly general audience in Piazza San Pietro (October 22, 2008 – Photo by Bianca Celine Diane)
- 10.. Architectural elements on the façade belltowers of Basilica di San Pietro. The Saints on both sides of one of the clocks (designed by Giuseppe Valadier) are S. Thaddeus and S. Matthew (April, 2012, Manningtree Archive)
(© Manningtree Archive)