Today, I join with joy all the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Francis [Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio] begins his petrine ministry as the Bishop of Rome. He is our 266th Pope; Peter’s 265th Successor.
Right at the moment when Pope Francis was elected by the College of Cardinals and was introduced to the crowd at St. Peter’s Square, I had immediately took a great affection for him. I didn’t even know him before, but when he greeted and blessed the people below him, I felt so much relief and joy. I was only watching on television, but just looking at his amiable face that day made me feel secure. I was happy that Peter’s Seat was vacant no more.
Since that fateful day when white smoke whiffed out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, I have been following write ups about him and reading them made me admire him more and I was happy for my church that our Spiritual Leader is a Jesuit who sympathizes with the poor. I have to admit that a little part of me was hoping our very own Cardinal Tagle would be elected, but I didn’t even feel the slightest disappointment when it was Cardinal Bergoglio who appeared from that famous window. It must be the will of God and the working of the Holy Spirit because nothing but joy overcame me when I saw the Pope that night [early morning here]. For what it’s worth, I see that Pope Francis and our Cardinal Tagle are a bit similarly situated: both coming from developing countries; both Jesuits. And frankly, at the back of my mind, I was wondering how on earth would Cardinal Tagle communicate in Italian and other European languages if ever he were elected pope, hahaha. I mean, Pope Benedict speaks 7 languages and Pope Francis 4…
As the Holy Father formally starts his ministry today, I pray that God give him long life, vigor, good health always and strength to lead the Church. I pray he will be able to address the issues that have been plaguing the Church for a while now. God give him courage, discernment and the will to govern effectively. I pray he remains humble, merciful, gentle, kind and down to earth. On the other hand, I also pray that the faithful will cooperate with his Holiness in whatever direction he brings the flock.
God bless you always, Pope Francis! We are sending our love all the way to the Vatican in spirit.