Our new Pope. A Franciscan Heart.

Yesterday, around 3pmEST,  a man of deep humility, great prayer, and a love of the poor, appeared on the balcony as the 266th successor of St Peter. His first words were, “Good evening!”, and so it was!

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has chosen the name Francis.  He is the first Pope in history to take the name Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, the first Pope from the Americas as well.   Jim Martin, SJ, wrote : “We have a Jesuit pope with a Franciscan name. What a beautiful combination!”

It was quite beautiful to witness his humility as he addressed the faithful, bowing his head as he first asked for their prayers. Pope Francis chose not to  use a platform to elevate himself above the cardinals standing with him as he was introduced to the world as Pope Francis.  “He said I’ll stay down here,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York.

After leading the faithful in prayer, (Praying in unison, the Our Father, Hail Mary, &  Glory)  he said the following:

And now, let us start this journey, bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which leads all the Churches in charity, a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.

Let us always pray for us, one for the other, let us pray for the whole world, so that there may be a great fraternity. I hope that this journey of the Church that we begin today and which my cardinal vicar, who is here with me, will help me with, may be fruitful for the evangelisation of this beautiful city.

Now, I would like to give you a blessing, but first I want to ask you for a favor.   Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord so that he blesses me. This is the prayer of the people who are asking for the blessing of their bishop.

In silence, let us say this prayer of you for me.

(translated by Reuters here)

He had told the crowd, of some 100,000 people, that he intended to pray Friday to the Madonna “that she may watch over all of Rome.”  And today began his first day as pope making an early morning visit in a simple Vatican car to a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayed.

This is an joyful time for the Church and the World.     Our prayers are with you always Holy Father!