Habemus Papam! And that’s a wrap

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam;
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Jorge Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscus.

I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio,
Who takes for himself the name of Francis.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, a Jesuit and ordinary of Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, accepted his election. He is the first pope named Francis, the first Jesuit, the first non-European, and the first Latin American.

We will soon get to know quite a bit about the Holy Father in the coming days and weeks. Today, let us celebrate.

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Jimmy’s the man

When should you watch for the Sistine Chapel’s papal election smoke? Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog at the National Catholic Register. Jimmy, who can also be heard on “Catholic Answers Live” radio show, is one of the most knowledgeable and entertaining apologists in the Church today. He also shares great low-carb recipes. If Jimmy tells you something, its the straight stuff, and you can take it to the bank. While you’re there, check out the NC Register’s other blogs and stories. It’s an outstanding Catholic newspaper.

Benedict’s last audience

Reporter Jessica Langdon of The Leaven, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, had an opportunity to talk to archdiocesan seminarians now in Rome.

Here is what Seminarian Luke Doyle (center, with Matt Rensch from the Diocese of Burlington, VT, left; and Agustin Martinez, right), who is attending the Pontifical North American College, had to say.

• “ I was able to attend the Holy Father’s last Angelus and his final public audience. I was also able to wave to him from the roof of the North American College as he flew overhead at the beginning of his flight to Castle Gandalfo.”

• “Tickets are normally required to attend a papal event, and the day before I worked alongside the Alma Sisters of Mercy who staff the U.S. Office for Visitors to the Vatican, passing out thousands of tickets for Pope Benedict’s final audience. While tickets are required to be in the “front” of the crowd (front being a relative term), the event was not an exclusive ticketed event. The sisters estimated 250,000 attended Pope Benedict’s final audience.”

• “The Pope seemed very much at peace. For as monumental as his decision is in the life of the Church, he seemed to be very much at peace with it, confidently knowing that he is following the desires of the Lord. He certainly has slowed down in his physical ability, but it was very apparent to me that he has not slowed down in the slightest in his intellectual abilities and in his zeal for the Lord and His Church.”

• “Perhaps this is the greatest testament to the universality of the Church! Pope Benedict delivered his address in Italian, and I was able to catch the gist of what he was saying. My Italian is not great, but I was able to understand his main points. Then, the chief pastor of the universal church spoke directly to pilgrims in 11 different languages, including German, Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and Arabic! This is a great example of how seriously Pope Benedict took his responsibilities as universal shepherd of the Church. He spoke eight languages fluently at the time he was elected to the papacy, and since learned another three. He began studying Arabic at the age of 83, so he could be able to speak directly to many peoples under his spiritual care.”

• “The message I will most take away from Pope Benedict’s final audience came when he stated this:

‘One can touch what the Church is — not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but s living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline . . . Dear Friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love.’Image

Conclave begins Tuesday, March 12

Vatican press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., announced that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, March 12.

The first votes will be cast inside the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon, reported Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service.

The College of Cardinals decided on this date after the arrival of the last eligible voting cardinal. He is Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Man of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

Here’s how long past conclaves have lasted:

• Pope Benedict XVI: From the evening of April 18 to the afternoon of April 19, 2005, lasting less than a day and a half, three ballots.

• Pope John Paul II: From Oct. 14 to 16, 1978, two days, eight ballots.

• Pope John Paul I: From Aug. 25 to 26, 1978, two days, four ballots.

• Pope Paul VI: From June 19 to 21, 1963, three days, six ballots.

• Pope John XXIII: from Oct. 25 to 28, 1958, four days, 11 ballots.

• Pope Pius XII: From March 1 to 2, 1939, two days, three ballots.

• Pope Pius XI: From Feb. 2 to 6, 1922, five days, 14 ballots.

• Pope Benedict XV: From Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 1914, four days, 10 ballots.

• Pope Pius X: From July 31 to Aug. 4, 1903, four days, seven ballots.