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Waiting on @FatherZ : “How I received our new Pope”

Editor’s Note: Yesterday’s events concerning the election of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis I were certainly different on the Catholic Social Media…crickets from our priest, Father John Zuhlsdorf. Here is where he was during it all. Thank you Father Z for your post. It was different & personal… Terrific to have a birds eye view!

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
at Father Z’s Blog

Today was a day of deep blessings and deep frustrations. It was a day of wetness from rain and wetness from tears.

Let me dispense with the frustrations. The cellular network and internet in the area was nearly completely overwhelmed so that, with all the good will in the world in trying, I could not post from the square or other places I visited, such as the main room of the Vatican Press Office, etc.

This gave me a different view of things today. You can see the nice photos elsewhere. I’ll get to those, but for now, I’ll just write.

For the last conclave, I was mister on-camera guy, wonking away. I have done some of that this time, but less. I wasn’t able to take the last time in, as I wanted to this time.

We had really horrible weather today. I won’t go into it, but it is the weather that I – and friends can attest – hate the most. That said, for the first burning of ballots around midday, I felt like Moses. I had camped under the colonnade to stay a little dry and determined that, since I had asked you to pray for good weather, I should pray. I started the Rosary. The moment I started the Rosary the rain ended. Umbrellas furled up again into their pupae

form. The moment I finished the Rosary, the rain started again. I considered that, perhaps, in charity I ought recruit people to help me keep the Rosary going so that we could have a dry piazza.

In the meantime… in something not rare but not so very common in St. Peter’s Square, I fielded requests for confession. Not rare, but odd in this way, kind, quality, occasion.

Eventually, no smoke resulted. I headed out.

I met up with a dear friend, one my oldest friends in Italy, a layman, father of a family. We had some lunch and then went in search of some “santini”, or holy cards, of St. Peter. I found some at different stores and bought heaps. Why? More on that below.

Back to the piazza for more fun waiting in the rain. A seminarian from the US came by and we chatted until it was clear that there was no smoke for that ballot. My friend and I went to my short-let apartment for hot tea and some phone charging. All this time, armed with smart phones, etc., you would think there was a cellular connection? Internet? Pfffft. Fr. Z is silenced both by Zuhlsdorf’s Law and by the laws of the Catholic Church in Sede Vacante, which are both bound to draw crowds.

While my friend contemplated his own path home, I sort of decided, dunno why, to change into warmer clothes, get my wet coat on and head back to the piazza. To heck with a bus, quoth I, taxi this time. In the taxi, my friend called his wife who reported “white smoke” as I pulled up the proper app to view the verfied “white smoke”.

We zoomed to the piazza and began the wait, my shoulder still aching from the pack strap from the weight of gear and “santini”.

I was in the midst of mostly Italians, including a group of clerics and seminarians in cassock, greca (the long coat) and Roman hats. They were not, as it turned out, from some specialized group but from an Italian diocese. This, friends, is a hopeful sign. We had various conversations about the possible new Pope, I wonked a bit when they saw my press pass, and then… it started.

Lights went on in the loggia of the facade of the basilica.

The doors opened. Instead of seeing workers who would put out the old Pope’s arms over the rail, out came the Cardinal Deacon. The announcement was made.


There was a kind of shocked silence.

Please, please click HERE to go to Father Z’s Blog to finish this post and to learn how he met with the new Pope in 2009…

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