He came, he was there...

March 14, 2013

I knew already last night that he would come, for I was part of the "combinatione", and I had promised not to betray the trust that had been placed in me. Yet, as a good disciple of Thomas, I was skeptical to say the least. Surely people would have laughed with me... and at me, if he had not come.

However, he came. At 9 a.m. sharp, Pope Francis showed up in the Casa Del Clero's courtyard. Exactly as he had told his brother cardinals at dinner the night before at Saint Martha's House.  

Dressed in white cassocks, he suddenly emerged from an official car and unpretentiously went to his room to retrieve his belongings. Relaxed, smiling, he seemed to me like a man simply going about his very ordinary tasks. Was his luggage prepared in advance for him? He alone will tell, still it took a few minutes waiting (which felt like hours to us) to see him walk back out of the elevator.

  The few colleagues trapped in the staircase leading towards the exit spontaneously broke into applause, thus greeting him and chanting his name, just as I did too. For a brief moment, we were his most excited fan club. I now have a better appreciation of what my nieces experience when they meet their favourite celebrities. For us, Francis was our star, confirmed the evening before on Saint Peter Square.  

Our heckling caught his attention and, pausing, he turned towards us and warmly waved at us. Just like a dad waves goodbye to his children before leaving for work. He then proceeded to pay his bill at the reception desk. After doing so, he went to thank the administration staff and the kitchen staff, as well as all the staff who had gathered before the upper floors' windows. He then climbed back into his car and drove off back to the Vatican, the place of his future apostolic ministry, and of his "perpetual condo", as Cardinal Turcotte jokingly refers to when speaking of the Bishops' funerary crypt.  

Judging by what I have seen from this pope in just a few brief moments, I am reassured by the Cardinal electors' choice. They gave us a pastor who loves those entrusted to his care, who is capable of closeness with the least among us. After his departure, the memory of a song rose in me:  

"The Church, it will have your face
The Church, it will have all ages
The Church will be you, will be me, will be all of us,
And the Church will be each one of us."
What if this was the beginning of a new era?

Richard Saint-Louis, d.p. 


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