Habemus Papam: “We have a Pope”
By Wendy Osher
Habemus Papam. “We have a pope.” Those were the words released by the Vatican upon selection of a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down on Feb. 28, citing his advanced age.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina was selected the new pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name of Francis.
At 8:06 HST, white smoke was seen coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signifying the selection of the supreme pontiff.
The new pope greeted the public during a formal announcement at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City on the second day of a conclave to select the new leader.
Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu joined in the celebration by saying, “We join with the rest of the Church throughout the world in thanking God for the speedy election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis.”
In a statement released today, Bishop Silva said, “Our Holy Father can count on the support of our prayers not only in these first days of his Pontificate but throughout his ministry as the Successor of St. Peter.”
Bishop Silva will join other Catholics in Hawai’i in celebrating the selection by attending a Mass of Thanksgiving on Thursday, March 14, at noon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu.
“I encourage all the parishes to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for the election of Pope Francis,” said Bishop Silva.
Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from South America, and the first pope to take the name Francis. He also comes following a lengthy reign of European popes called to the position (Editor’s note: Bergoglio is the son of an Italian immigrant to Buenos Aires). He will be installed next Tuesday.
CNN reports that as cardinal, he clashed with the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
In his first address Pope Francis offered the following Apostolic Blessing as transcribed by the Vatican:
Brothers and sisters, good evening!
You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one… but here we are… I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop. Thank you! And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him.
And now, we take up this journey: Bishop and People. This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity. It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first – first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.
Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and until we meet again. We will see each other soon. Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome. Good night and sleep well!