We have a pope! I can't even put into words how excited and happy I am... Deo gratia!
I got the "White smoke!" text from PopeAlarm.com as I was changing Little Bear, and as soon as he was diapered, we ran out to the living room, turned on the computer, and pulled up EWTN while texting Matt and my siblings. Of course, EWTN had just been hit by a traffic surge and wouldn't load the live stream. Frustrated, I tried CBS. They were streaming fine, but the commentary... it wasn't bad, I guess, but it wasn't Catholic. I wanted to hear from people who were happy and excited about the election of the successor of St Peter, not people who were attending another foreign political event. I decided to try EWTN again. It worked! Little Bear and I were glued to the monitor (okay, we also danced and played with toys and ate celebratory cookies) for the next hour.
Every little change moving us toward meeting our new Holy Father was so exciting: the lights are on at the balcony! The curtains are moving! Shadows behind the curtains! When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran walked out onto the balcony and proclaimed, "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam," I could not stop smiling. I was all set to pay attention to his next words, the Latin pronouncement of the new pope's baptismal name, surname, and new papal name... and then Little Bear yelled and squirmed away from me, and I only caught bits and pieces. His first name was... somebody Maria? George Mary? Nomen imposuit Francis!
"He took the name Pope Francis," I told the friend I was chatting with. "I didn't hear anything else for sure..." As I stared at the screen wishing the commentators would just translate for us already (EWTN didn't seriously send correspondents who couldn't speak Latin to the conclave, did they?), we could hear the crowd begin to chant "Pope Francis! Pope Francis!"
So much joy just came washing over me. I grew up knowing Bl. John Paul II as pope, and remember being excited about the election of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, but this was different, more personal... The first pope for whom I've truly paid attention and prayed throughout the interregnum and conclave, the first pope our son will grow up knowing... and when Pope Francis came out onto the balcony, smiled at us, and so humbly asked the people of the world to pray for him before he gave his first papal blessing! My heart melted. What beautiful humility. What a wonderful example, a touching and inspiring first act as pontiff. Already I love this man, our new father.