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The smoke began to pour out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 1:00pm Central Daylight Time. Just over an hour later, the announcement was made:
HABEMUS PAPAM! We have a pope!
The name that God knows him by is Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
He was the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The name the world will know him by is Pope Francis – the FIRST!
Let us pray for Pope Francis today and all days of his glorious reign!
This morning around 11:30am local time, Msgr. Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies for the papal conclave, intoned the famous words: “Extra omnes!”, which command that everyone who is not a cardinal elector or a conclave secretary to vacate the Sistine Chapel immediately. As soon as all those “extras” had filed out, Msgr. Marini dramatically closed the Sistine Chapel doors, and the papal conclave officially begun.
About two hours later, black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney. No pope……YET!
The next time to look for smoke will be between 5-6am Central Time tomorrow when the ballots from the morning votes are burned.
Yesterday in St. Peter’s Square, from the window of his apartment in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father led upwards of 200,000 people in the Angelus, a short prayer recited at noon that honors Our Lord’s Incarnation in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as he does on every Sunday that he is in Rome. At this Angelus, the last of his pontificate, he also shared additional details about his resignation:
The Lord is calling me to “go up the mountain” to dedicate myself to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean that I will abandon the Church, rather … it is because I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love which which I have sought to do until now, but in a way more suited to my age and my strength.
I thank you for your affection and sharing in this particular moment in my life and for the Church, especially through your prayers. To all I wish a good day and a good week. In prayer we are always close to each other. Thank you all!
The Holy Father’s reign as pope will conclude at 1:00pm Central Time (8:00pm Rome Time) on Thursday, February 28th. When the See of Peter is vacant (sede vacante), the Cardinals will gather and determine a start date for the conclave to elect Benedict’s successor. The Church needs our prayers in this time! Why not say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be today for Pope Benedict, his successor, and the cardinal electors in the conclave?
Well, folks, it’s been quite the week. Besides our annual entrance into Lent on Wednesday, Monday also saw the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – the first pope to do this in centuries. As we look to the end of Benedict’s pontificate, the “interregnum” (literally, between reigns), the conclave, and, finally, the election of a new pope, it promises to be an exciting month for the Church and for the world.
We’ll do what we can to keep you updated on news as it develops. To start, here are a few great articles, videos, and general quotes to consider if you’re in need of playing catch-up on resignation news:
In Benedict’s Own Words:
Reaction from bishops in the United States:
Remembering Benedict’s Legacy
The Church awaits word on a conclave date, which is to be determined by the cardinals who will elect the next pope.
What should I do?
This is a unique time in the life of the Church. The best thing any of us can do is to pray very much for the Holy Father, the cardinal electors who will participate in the conclave, and the next man who will be Successor to St. Peter, known, at this moment, only to God. If you are interested, join us for a rosary in the St. Paul’s Chapel at 8:40PM on Monday nights, starting on February 18th and ending upon the election of a new pope.
Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us and pray for the Pope!