Life in Italy

Holy Smoke!

Last night was simply amazing. Despite being in the same bedroom from 10:30 pm on, both boys slept through the night. Oh, and some other significant milestones were met, too.

First Latin American Pope.

First Jesuit Pope.

First Pope Francis, ever.

Needless to say, we’re already smitten with our new Papa, whose election we were privileged to witness as a family, from drizzling rain to anxious pacing to seagull-watching to white!smoke! spotting to more waiting and crowds pressing and tip toe standing to breath-catching to eyes filling to crowd cheering to the punchline: Habemus Papam.

And my God, we are thankful. It wasn’t evident until about 7:13 pm Roman time last night that we’d all been collectively holding our breath for the last month or so, as a city, as a Church, heck maybe as the world. And with one act of faith, one simple ‘yes,’ we were able to exhale. The Cardinals had voted, the Holy Spirit had prodded, and a faithful servant had given his consent.

After we heard him announced, we were turning to eachother and to the people crammed elbow to elbow beside us asking ‘who? who is it?!’ All we could clearly make out was “Francesco,” and so for the first 5 minutes or so, until some helpful Spaniards standing 10 feet behind us identified our Argentinian Papa, all we knew him as was “Francis.”

The words from Christ on the cross at San Damiano to St. Francis were ringing through my head, so much so that I spoke them aloud to my sister Christian while we wondered and craned our necks and cheered for our new – but still mysterious – Papa.

“Go and rebuild my Church, for it is falling into ruin.”


If I were the type to throw potentially irreverent words around at a time like this, I’d probably have just one thing to say to the Holy Spirit:

Nailed it.

Habemus, Papam. St. Francis, St. Ignatius, and St. Peter…pray for us.


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