Wednesday, April 19, 2006

1st Anniversary

Today is Pope Benedict XVI's first anniversary as Supreme Pontiff!

I still remember April nineteenth, two-thousand five vividly. Dad and Bella were in New York, Jonathan Lee was over at Twenty-nine Palms. He had just called and mom was talking to him while sitting right where I am now. From another computer, I got a message saying that white smoke was coming out of the Sistene Chapel. My heart races, but I command myself to stay calm. Nevertheless I still jump from the computer and then, with a calm pace and composure, walk ove to the TV and turn it on. Mom is still talking to Jonathan Lee but I say "mom, there's white smoke."

Mom practically jumps out her skin but manages to tell Jonathan Lee the same thing over the phone. Needless to say, they hang up to watch get to their respective TV's. Nothing but live footage from St. Peter's Square is on (which is fine by me). Even over the TV, and even though the announcement had not been made, and even before the Cardinal-announcer had even come out for crying out loud, St. Peter's Square was deafening.

Since the question on the minds of planners in the Vatican (quite rightly) isn't "are we conduct our schedule in a manner convenient to the media?", there was a while that we were waiting and listening to poor Brian Williams practically trying to make up words because he had nothing to say anymore and the Cardinal-announcer was no where to be seen yet.

In this time, mom, who was just as ecstatic as I was, asks me to do the dishwasher while we're waiting. Okay....I had only ever known one pope...I've never seen a papal death or funeral...I've never seen a conclave start...I've never been there at those awesome moments when the announcement is being made but you just don't know who it is...and I've never seen a new pope elected. Now all of this has happened. We are sitting there waiting to hear who the new pope is, but because the Cardinal-announcer isn't actually on the balcony, mom tells me to do the dishwasher. So momish.

Anyway, a Cardinal comes out with a couple of helping hands. I don't know who the Cardinal is. But we go through the "Annuntio Vobis" part of the message and I'm just waiting. He goes on: "Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum", then he pauses.

From here, it's pretty obvious that we're about to find out who it is. "Josephum" would probably mean Cardinal Ratzinger but I couldn't pretend there weren't any more Josephs in the College of Cardinals. "Francisum" would most likely be Cardinal Arinze. Then there is "Dionigium", who would obviously be Cardinal Tettamanzi.

So this is it...the Cardinal-announcer, who I now to be one Cardinal Medina, continues after this pause with "Dominum...Josephum". I'm sure this is Ratzinger but, again, there are other Josephs in the Vatican. Also, someone might just put "Jose" down as "Josephum".

Cardinal Medina went on with "Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem...--a pause--...Ratzinger". YES!!! Mom and I jump up in elation! It was indesribable! Just amazing! Then Cardinal Medina goes on to tell us what the name was. "Qui sibi nomen imposuit," he continued, "Benedictum XVI".

So there we have it. Cardinal Ratzinger - elected Pope and has taken the name Benedict XVI. Pius XIII would have been cooler, or Gregory XVII, but I couldn't care because it was such a happy time. Besides, I suppose I am a bit biased in favoring the papal name of "Gregory".

I won't be forgetting that day anytime soon.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto

Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Pater Noster, Ave Maria