Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why are the bells ringing at 2:10 in the afternoon?

Yesterday I was in the middle of a student conference in my office. I was distracted by the sound of the bells from our campus chapel. They were ringing for a long time, and when I finally registered this and looked at my watch, it was 2:15PM. I said to my student:" Sean, those bells ringing... we have a new Pope!" So we turned on the computer and there, streaming from TV, was the sight of the white smoke.  An hour  or so after that, the announcement came that it was this cardinal from Argentina, Jorge Bergoglio
this photo comes from his time in Argentina

Then they announced that he was taking the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, a saint known for his love for poverty and simplicity and prayer. So, Pope Francis, the first of that name.
I like his face.  I also very much like his first words to the enormous crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square - he asked them to bless him.  Then he prayed WITH them... the Our Father and the Hail Mary. 
Here are some of his other words, from when he was a cardinal in Buenos Aires:

“We need to come out of ourselves and head for the periphery. We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a Church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a Church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out onto the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one.”

and he said this in 2001:

"Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord," 


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