Catholics welcome new Pope-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
ROMAN Catholics happily welcomed the first non-European and Jesuit priest, Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires in Argentina, as the new pope when he emerged at the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica shortly after a white smoke billowed from the chimney around 2 a.m. Thursday (Philippine time).
The new pope chose the papal name Francis. He was elected during the fifth balloting.
Pope Francis, 76, is two years younger when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was chosen to the papacy in 2005.
The election of the new pope was also happily welcomed by the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
"Nagagalak din tayo and it was totally unexpected I think. He was really a Pope for the poor and he was more siguro in touch with the suffering of the people of Latin America din," said Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma.
Msgr. Elmer Abacahin, Holy Cross Parish priest in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental and president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, said the almost two-weeks of waiting has created an intense curiosity, especially to the Roman Catholics.
But he said the power of the Holy Spirit has indeed worked among the cardinals.
“Wow, it is really the Holy Spirit,” Abacahin said.
He said Pope Francis’ name do not even came out from the international media.
“The new pope was not even among those who are the frontliners or the papabile,” Abacahin said.
Even if a new pope has already chosen, he said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines still has a great chance.
“Dako pa kayo og chance si Cardinal Tagle although gi-ampo sa mga Filipino nga siya unta ang mamahimong Santo Papa. Taas ug daghan pa ang panahon ug mga kasinatian nga angay usab maandam si Cardinal Tagle,” Abacahin said.
Msgr. Rey Manuel Monsanto said the Church will not remain for long without a pope.
“The Church needs a leader,” he said.
Dominga Cordova, 50, a devotee and an active church leader, said it was like finally welcoming a father from a long trip away from home.
“I cannot express my happiness. Sama ra nga nawad-an kita og amahan ug finally niabot ra gayud siya,” Cordova said.
Tagle assured the newly-elected pope that millions of Filipino Catholics will be supportive of his papacy.
“When I approached Pope Francis to assure him of the closeness and collaboration of the Filipinos, he said, 'I have high hopes for the Philippines. May your faith prosper, as well as your devotion to Our Lady and mission to the poor',” he said.
Over 80 percent of the country’s nearly 100 million people are Catholic, making it the third biggest in the world after Brazil and Mexico, according to American think tank Pew Research Center last month.
Tagle, referred in media reports as a papal contender, also thanked those who prayed for him and other 114 cardinal electors who chose the successor to resigned Pope Benedict XVI.
“I thank you for your fervent prayers for the cardinal electors. We never felt alone even for a moment. Your love sustained us,” he said.
Like Tagle, the new pope is a member of the Society of Jesus, a religious order not known for taking high leadership roles.
In a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the cardinals picked the right person to guide the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
“He is the pope of the people. Yung kanyang pagiging malapit sa tao dahil sa kanyang vision as a Church ay sama-sama tayong naglalakbay. Napatunayan niya ang kanyang pagiging malapit sa tao matapos siyang humingi ng prayer para sa kanya bago niya basbasan ang mga tao,” said CBCP president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Born in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He was ordained a Jesuit on December 13, 1969 and was appointed novice Master and later on provincial for Argentina from 1973-1979.
He was also rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel from 1980-1986 and served as confessor and spiritual director in Cordoba after having completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany.
On May 20, 1992, he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires and was consecrated bishop on June 27 of the same year. He was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires on June 3, 1997 and took over the post from Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on February 28, 1998.
Pope Francis was proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 2001.
It was known that Pope Francis got the second highest votes in 2005 when Pope Emeritus became the Holy See.
He was also a member of several Congregations in the Vatican – the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
In his message, Pope Francis urged the faithful to be with him in his journey of friendship, of love, trust and faith.
“Let us begin this journey together...Let us pray always for one another. Let us pray for the whole world. Let us have a big brotherhood,” his message read.
After being elected, a stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy.
The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
After announcing "Habemus Papum" (We have a pope!) -- a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday (Thursday dawn in the Philippines) revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.
Pope Francis, archbishop of Buenos Aires, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
Reports said Pope Francis “rides the bus, visits the poor, lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals.”
To many in Buenos Aires, he is known simply as “Father Jorge.”
Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out a few minutes around 2 a.m. Thursday, many shouting "Habemus Papam!" as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.
Chants of "Long live the pope!" arose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia. They played the introduction to the Vatican and Italian anthems and the crowd, which numbered at least 50,000, joined in, waving flags from countries around the world.
"I can't explain how happy I am right down," said Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumping up and down in excitement.
Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.
For comparison's sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.
Patrizia Rizzo ran down the main boulevard to the piazza with her two children as soon as she heard the news on the car radio.
"I parked the car ... and dashed to the square,” she said. "It's so exciting, as Romans we had to come.” (With reports from AP/ HDT/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 15, 2013.