When the smoke begin issuing forth from the Sistine Chapel I was sitting in my room talking with a couple of friends. As we watched the smoke rise it looked white enough but there were no bells accompanying the ringing so I assumed a Pope had not been elected.
Being a bit disappointed, I went to the mailroom to drop some things off and returned to my floor to find a couple of guys intently watching the television to determine the actual color of the smoke since it continued to come forth for some time.
I joined them and grabbed a priest to ask his opinion. All of this was taking place just before 11:00 a.m. And then, the bells of St. Peter's began to ring and we could not figure out if they were tolling the hour or tolling an election since the smoke looked white and had been rising for some time. Then, a few minutes later, with great excitement, we heard the bells very clearly tolling the election of the new Pope.
We then ran down to the recreation hall to watch the announcement on a big screen television. When we arrived, there were probably thirty other people in the room all filled with excited and wonder at who the Holy Father was.
We watched the balcony of St. Peters, waiting and waiting to see the Cardinal archdeacon emerge to say those wonderful words: "Annuntio vobis guadium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminetissium ac Reverendissium Dominum, Dominum Josephum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Ratzinger, qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedictum XVI."
Waiting for the announcement, tears filled my eyes and I was filled with a wonderful joy knowning we had another shepherd to lead us. Pope Benedict XVI will provide excellent leadership to the Church and to the world.
We can get a glimpse of his thought in the homily he gave before the opening of the Conclave. He said:
"Truth and charity coincide in Christ. In the measure that we come close to Christ, also in our life, truth and charity are fused. Charity without truth is blind; truth without charity would be like 'a clanging cymbal'."
"There are no secrets between friends: Christ tells us everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full confidence and, with confidence, also knowledge. He reveals his face to us, his heart. He shows his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the folly of the cross."
"The more we love Jesus, the more we know him, and the more our genuine freedom grows, as well as the joy of being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!"
Pray for Pope Benedict, that he may be a good and faithful shepherd of the Church, that God may fill him with the courage and strength needed to carry out his ministry.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a Pope! Viva il Papa!