Pope Francis’s first request: ‘Pray for me’-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
REQUEST for prayers and gestures of humility shown by Pope Francis in the first few hours of his pontificate won over Cebuano lay and clergymen.
“Now I would like to impart the blessing, but first, first I ask a favor of you. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that He bless me: the prayer of the people asking a blessing for their bishop. Let us pray in silence, this your prayer for me,” the 76-year-old Argentinian said in his first address, before bowing his head.
“Now, I will impart the blessing to you and all the world, to all men and women of good will,” he added.
The news that cardinal-electors have chosen a new pontiff, the former Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, was warmly welcomed by people from different walks of life.
“We are happy that we have a new pope and like many others, we also accept the surprise that he is not European,” said Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in a statement posted on the CBCP website.
“Like all Christians, we are invited to give our full trust to him and give our allegiance to him and help him in all his programs,” Palma said.
He told Sun.Star Cebu that there would be a thanksgiving mass in the archdiocese sometime next week.
Pope Francis, the 266th pope, gained the admiration of many as he begins his pontificate.
“I was touched by his asking the people for their prayers and blessings in silence,” said Marilu Chiongbian, Cebu-Citizens Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation Foundation Inc. (C-Cimpel) director.
“(I) am so joyful. The name he chose, Pope Francis, spells out that perhaps his papacy will significantly tilt towards a preference for the poor and a simple lifestyle,” she said.
Fr. Charles Jayme, Sto. Rosario parish parochial vicar, noted that the new pope has many “firsts” -- the first Jesuit pope, first non-European, first Latin American and the first pope to use Francis as his papal name.
“I was moved when he bowed and asked for blessing and prayers from the faithful before he gave his first papal blessing. This is a message of humility, and perhaps, is telling us his humble service to the universal church, that this new pope is imparting,” Jayme said.
Jesuit priest Fr. Ernesto Javier, pastoral-education ministry head and St. Benedict School director, said he was surprised at the choice of a Jesuit pope to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“He (Francis) was not in the short list, long list or any kind of list,” he told reporters.
Bergoglio was a novice master, a rector of a Jesuit Formation House and former provincial general in Argentina.
Javier said the choice of using “Francis” referred to the simplicity of St. Francis of Assisi and the evangelical zeal of St. Francis Xavier.
The local Jesuit community chose not to have a big celebration for the election of Bergoglio as the first Jesuit pope.
“We celebrate in a quiet way, there will be a mass and we will offer prayers,” said Fr. Jason Dy, Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus parochial vicar.
In a separate interview, Canon lawyer Msgr. Esteban Binghay said the papacy and the duties and responsibilities that go with the office evoke emotions of “joy and fear” for the cardinal who gets elected.
“We can suspect, they (elected popes) cried because of the heavy responsibilities… Sometimes, they feel joy, after all they have reached the highest honor and responsibility for a priest in the holy church–the papal honor,” Binghay said.
Binghay, an episcopal vicar, said the selection of Bergoglio may not be because of his age.
“It must be his experience, personal life and that he is from a third world country, which should be a focus for evangelization because we are losing Catholics there,” he said.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes said the new pope was an “inspired choice, which can only come from the Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Javier said Cardinal Bergoglio is known as a conservative and changes are not expected to be made on commonly held doctrines.
But Roxanne Doron, Bisdak Pride director, raised the concern of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and transexuals in Cebu.
He voiced hope that the pontiff would review some documents, particularly the declaration concerning certain questions on sexual ethics that was issued in 1975, among others.
But pro-life advocate Fe Barino is confident that the Church doctrine on the protection of life and family would be upheld during the pontificate of Francis.
She noted that the pope is against divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage.
“He is the man of God we need at this trying times in our Catholic faith,” said Barino.
For his part, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama welcomed the election of Pope Francis and said he hopes His Holiness will come to Cebu to attend the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016.
“It will be good for us and the world,” he said.
In his regular news conference on Thursday, the mayor said that while Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle was not elected the new pope, what is important now is that the Catholic Church already has a new leader following the resignation of now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Rama said he prefers to have more Filipino cardinals instead, so the Philippines will have a stronger connection to the Vatican City. (BAP/PDF/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2013.