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HABEMUS PAPAM: Pope Francis, We Are Praying for You!

The white puff of smoke emerged and ignited a firestorm of joy and wonder from St. Peter’s Square and spanning across the globe. In an instant, newsfeed on all social networks were claiming “Habemus Papam!” From the balcony, our new pope gives his first blessing and accepts the weight of a billion souls. He has been given time to weep and mourn as he has stepped aside and let the Holy Spirit take over.

To be Catholic, at the moment, is almost beyond words. From the first puff, we were collectively overwhelmed with anticipation that could not be rivaled by even the most hopeful child on Christmas morning. And, now, we prepare to fall in love with the heir to St. Peter’s throne.

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


As the doors to the balcony were opened, the much anticipated words Habemus Papam were proclaimed to all below in St. Peter’s Square. Then the doors closed. We waited to see who would emerge. And then we knew. The giddiness turned to excitement as then Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio was presented to the world as the first pope of the New World, Pope Francis.

Who exactly is Pope Francis?

Name: Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio

Born: December 17, 1939

Ordained: December 13, 1969 for the Jesuits during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.

Member of:

  • Congregations: for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life ;
  • Pontifical Council for the Family;
  • Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Random factoids:

  • he lost a lung as a young child
  • his father was an Italian immigrant railway worker from the area around Turin and emigrated to Argentina
  • Pope Francis was a runner up in the 2005 conclave
  • he has four brothers and sisters
  • he originally wanted to be a chemist, but in 1958 entered the Society of Jesus
  • Jesuits are generally discouraged from receiving ecclesiastical honors and advancements, making his rise to Pope all the more interesting
  • he is unapologetically orthodox when it comes to teachings on sexual morality
  • some cardinals candidly admitted in 2005 conclave that he lacked “fire in the belly” that was needed to lead universal Church.
  • he is seen as a successful evangelist
  • he lives simply, cooking his own meals and taking a bus rather than a chauffeured limousine
  • Sistine Chapel smoke recipe: Blacksmoke made with potassium perchlorate, anthracene, and sulphur. White from potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin, Vatican says.
  • upon acceptance of being named pope, he spent time in Adoration in the Room of Tears
  • he first asked for a blessing from the faithful before giving his blessing
  • the first official Pope Francis Pontifex tweet was “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM”
  • Vatican confirms pope’s choice of name is for Francis of Assisi
  • announcement of new pope breaks Twitter all-time record citing 130 MILLION tweets per minute just after announcement, shattering presidential inauguration and Olympics. ::source FoxNews Neil Cavuto:: ETA – it has since been corrected to 130 THOUSAND tweets per minute.

Visit the vatican’s website to hear the transcript of Pope Francis’ first words.


Where were you when you saw the white smoke?

How did you feel?

How did you feel when the new pope was announced?

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Smoke Watch – Being a Savvy Conclave Fan and Member of the Papa-ratzi

conclave pope watch, smoke

CONCLAVE updates at END

No’pe = a contraction indicating that there is no pope. This type of humorous comment (thanks, Stacy T) – in addition to serious conversations about the conclave – has been the fare of the day in the world of electronic media. As we all wait in eager anticipation, we find ourselves a part of the Papa-ratzi or papal information seekers. In this electronic age of ours, we don’t have to go far to feed our frenzy for knowledge. And what a historic time it is, when we witness the election of a new pope during the lifetime of a pope who has stepped down. This brief post then, seeks to help you to stay abreast of the papal news as it happens.

EWTN will be broadcasting live conclave updates on their television station as well as on their website.

If you still have a bit of catching up to do – as far as exactly how a conclave works – this quick YouTube video will help.

Vatican Insider also has a really nice interactive site that gives much useful information about all things about the conclave.

Are you a fan of the Swiss Guard? Well, look no further than their Facebook page where you will find “news coverage, videos, and photos highlighting our Guards in the Vatican”.

Of course keeping an eye on the Catholic Sistas fan page will bring you news you can use as well as charts and information to round out your knowledge of conclave happenings.

To participate in prayerful reflection on the election process and those involved you can join Catholic Sistas in our 40 Days of Prayer for the Chair of Saint Peter.

If you would like to personalize your prayers you can adopt your own Cardinal over on the Adopt a Cardinal website. I was given Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco and created a meme for him over on my Designs by Birgit page. So far there are 4,000 people praying for each of the 115 Cardinal Electors participating in the conclave.

conclave cardinal elector

Even the secular press has some helpful information, such as this graphic from the Wall Street Journal.

conclave chart

Of course you are also bound to enjoy Facebook, Twitter (@Catholic_Sistas), and chatting with IRL (in real life) friends about this great time in the life of the Church. Please feel free to ask questions or post helpful sites and information in the combox. We will be praying together as we await the election of a new Vicar of Christ!

Check below for updates and additions…

pope, conclave

Conclave UPDATES:

Here’s an interesting change for the new papacy -the newly elected pope will go to Adoration before the announcement of his name!

Do you have an iPhone or iPad? If so, check out Conclave, an app designed to provide plenty of information at your fingertips – no matter where you might be. Whether you are looking for news and information about the election of the next pope or want to watch for the white smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican – this is the app for you.


Did you know that there are actually two stoves involved in the smoke we see? One for the ballots and the other for the sole purpose of signalling whether or not there has been a successful conclave. Catholic News Agency has the scoop and a video in this fascinating article.

For an interesting array of informational snippets, read 20 Fun Facts about Papal Elections in Church History over at Canterbury Tales.

I, myself, have been confused about how many times to expect smoke and how many votes there will be in any given day. Having heard what seemed like contractory reports from usually dependable sources, I wasn’t sure if it was 2 or 4 per day. This graphic finally explains it – the answer is 4 votes but smoke only twice. Confused? Check out the explanation below.

 Do You Have Questions or Suggestions?

Don’t forget to suggest more sources or share links with us. We’ll add them to this post. Stay tuned for more…