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    Posted March 16, 2013 by
    Rome, Italy
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Catholics: Your views on new pope

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    Images and Auguries of Bliss: The Night Francis Became Pope


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Additional pictures from HABEMUS PAPAM! iReport.

    "...qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum."

    There was silence on the part of those who gathered in the Piazza. No loud cheer at the announcement of the name "Georgium Marium..." a few muffled voices from the crowd at the word "Bergoglio" but still, the silence remained significant. At "Franciscum" there was not much cheering either. Did we hear it right? And only after a few more moments did the applause come in unison. Everyone finally got it right: Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has been elected pope and has taken the name "Francis".

    I heard comments from the priests beside me--"Francis... this is revolutionary." Whatever vocabulary word we use for this novelty of a pope that has just been chosen, we would agree that this is change. The day after, there indeed were enumerated interesting "firsts" in this new pope, among others: the first pope from Latin America, the first pope from Society of Jesus, the first to bear the name Francis.

    However, what interests me are some interesting instances unsung by popular media.

    First [see photo 1 and 4], everyone came to see the chimney. It had brought forth black smoke the previous night and in the morning. But as the people waited, there was collective laughter when a bird perched on the chimney. It was a European Herring Gull. For about twenty minutes, it took the attention of everyone. Some later said it was reminiscent of St. Francis, lover of animals, whose name the new Pope has chosen. Yet what is most striking about all this is (I thank my brother Emerson for this information) the scientific name of the bird: "Larus argentatus"! Doesn't that sound like the Argentina of Pope Francis?

    Second, Cardinal Bergoglio was not among the papabili mentioned by prominent media; he was not among the frontrunners in the betting games (that sadly went on); he was not among those mentioned by the so-called Vatican experts, analysts and kingmakers. It was totally a surprise, a result that nobody expected, one affirming that the real kingmaker is one beyond us, much higher and wiser.

    Third, the presence of young people in St. Peter's Square is inspiring. Whoever said that the Catholic Church is dying or losing her young people? Most of those who gathered in the Piazza, who wanted to see white smoke that evening are young ones. This gives the Church a lot of hope and affirms its vitality.

    Fourth, the weather had its own message. From the forecast, it seemed that the weather would spoil the important days of the Conclave. There was some foreboding of this the day Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would step down from the papacy. That day was gloomy. And so was this particular Wednesday. St. Peter's Square was a sea of umbrellas. Even as the white smoke elicited cheers from the people, it continued to pour. But it gradually cleared. Still a slight drizzle when the Cardinal proclaimed "Habemus Papam!" But by this time people began folding their umbrellas. When Pope Francis began speaking, the sky was clear and I even saw a star over St. Peter's Basilica. The weather wanted a fitting finale for this beautiful night.

    And finally, there was one thing that gave me goosebumps. I went home, with deep joy like all the other witnesses of this blessed event. I was already tired and I was reviewing the photos that I took. Among them I saw one of several panoramic shots. I had my usual style of panning from left to right. I took the picture a good two hours before white smoke came out of the Sistine Chapel chimney. I wanted a panoramic view of the people gathered at Saint Peter's Square and so I panned my camera. And this was what appeared: the Argentinian flag waving at the center! More than three hours later the world came to know that the new pope comes from Argentina. It was a prophetic shot.

    A lot of signs therefore surrounded the evening of the conclusion of the Conclave. When John the Baptist was born, those who heard and saw the accompanying events wondered: "What then will this child become?" We also bring this wonder in the pontificate of the man who chose the name Francis.

    1) The "larus argentatus" was the front act for the beautiful evening that followed;
    2) remnants of those who saw the black smoke who later returned to see it white;
    3) the mysterious Argentinian flag that dominated the shot two hours before the white smoke came out;
    4) the seagulls that perched and hovered;
    5) the crowd building up, heedless of the bad weather;
    6) the white smoke cometh!
    7) modern gadgets to immortalize the historic event;
    8) the most awaited announcement: Habemus Papam!
    9) Pope Francis appears;
    10) a lot of young people in the crowd.
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