New Pope hailed-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
THE Catholic Church in Davao City rejoiced as the College of Cardinals elected on fifth voting on Thursday a new pope to replace Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
After two days of waiting, a white smoke finally came out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel around 1 a.m. (Philippine time), indicating that the 115 cardinals of the Catholic Church have chosen the next pontiff.
An emeritus cardinal from Argentina, Jorge Bergoglio, 76, was named Pope Francis.
Fr. Danny Montana, RCJ, regional fund director of the Fund Assistance to Private Education (Fape)-Davao, said in a text message that he was elated after he learned that a cardinal had been elected to the papacy.
"We celebrate with joy and gratitude the fast election of the new pope, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, who took the name Pope Francis. He is the 266th successor of Jesus Christ or Vicar of Christ and the Bishop of Rome," Fr. Montana said.
"Finally, after few days of being orphans, we have a father and shepherd to strengthen us in our faith to accompany us in this pilgrimage of life and to navigate the Church to a safe anchor amid some difficulties and challenges of the contemporary world and society," he added.
Montana said the fast election showed a strong cooperation among members of the College of Cardinals.
"The election is a sign of God's continuous act of love through the Holy Spirit. The swift election signals a strong cooperation. Unanimity and magnanimity among the college of Cardinals," he said.
The selection of a non-European Pope clearly showed that there are neither geographical boundaries nor cultures that divide the church, according to Fr. Montana.
"It's the culture of Christ and of the gospel that take a central place. The new Pope signals a new era and springtime of faith renewal among the members of the church, both the ordained and laity," he added.
With the new Pope, Montana said Catholic faithful are assured that they be "safe, secure, and serene."
"The name Francis goes back to Seraphic Saint, St. Francis of Assisi, whose name is already a program of papacy, that is of peace, simplicity, humility, and love for the brethren and nature," he said.
He also urged the faithful to be one with Pope Francis in serving God and the rest of the churches.
Meanwhile, the words #HabemusPapam and name Pope Francis I trended in social networking sites on Thursday, as the netizens welcomed the new head of the Roman Catholic Church.
As the faithful gathered at St. Peter's Square to welcome Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the new pope, Twitter and Facebook users hailed and urged Pope Francis I to work for peace.
"Pope Francis" and "#HabemusPapam" topped the list of trending topics over Twitter in the Philippines, while "Pope Francisco" made it to the top 10 trending topics worldwide.
After the first public appearance of Pope Francis, the Twitter account @Pontifex, which had gone inactive when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resigned from his papacy last month, was also reactivated with the post "Habemus Papam Franciscum."
The post was retweeted more than 77,000 times and gathered more than 22,000 favorites. The Twitter account has about P1.8 million followers.
Photos and videos of the first public appearance of Pope Francis were also shared many times on Facebook, as well as the photo on the white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.
Facebook users showed their excitement over the news and posted their prayers for the new pope, wishing hope in His leadership for the Catholic Church.
Even Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, president of Ateneo de Davao University, welcomed Pope Francis using his official Twitter account.
"St. Francis was a lover of God and nature. May Pope Francis help us preserve God's gift in our environment!" Tabora tweeted. "Amiable. Humorous. He prays for emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Speaks of journey of friendship, love, trust, fraternity. Silence. Blesses all!"
Fr. Ritsche Gamaya, editor-in-chief of Davao Catholic Herald, said as the new pope chose the papal name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, he anticipates the pope to educate the community the simple way of life.
St. Francis is known for his simplicity and has a reputation of being a voice for the poor. He renounced family wealth to live with and serve the poor.
Gamaya also puts hope that Pope Francis will portray a universal involvement in the Catholic community being the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium is an involvement.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 15, 2013.