14 March 2013

'Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.' Pope Francis

13 March 2013

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam:
Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum
The photo above of the then Cardinal Bergoglio was taken in 2008.
Our new Holy Father is described on the Vatican website as 'Pope Francis', not 'Pope Francis the First', or simply as 'Franciscus', the Latin form of the name, as above, or its equivalent in other languages. Numbering only comes in when there is more than one pope with the same name.
The plaque above, in St Peter's, listing all the popes buried there, follows that convention. The first four, for example, are 'S Petrvs (St Peter), Linvs, Cletvs, Evaristvs' without any number after the name. (In Latin the letters 'u' and 'v' were often used interchangeably.) Sts Linus and Cletus are mentioned in the Roman Canon, also called the First Eucharistic Prayer.

I was in Manila when Pope Francis was elected. At present the Philippines is seven hours ahead of Rome. When I went to bed I decided I'd get up whenever I woke to check if there was white smoke. The first time I woke I figured it was too early but at 2am Thursday, Philippine time, I woke again and went to the TV room, switched on BBC World, saw the white smoke and heard the bells joyfully ringing. So I waited till the name of the new pope was announced. 

When Pope Francis stood in front of the people he seemed to be stunned and I began to feel anxious for him. But once he took the microphone I was very assured by his simple words and by the way he spoke. It was extraordinary to hear the silence after he asked us to 
Here is Pope Francis speaking to the people of Rome, whose bishop he now is, and the people of the world. Below is the official English translation from the website of the Vatican.
It is very striking that before Pope Francis gives us his blessing for the first time he asks the people to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.   

May we pray fervently for Pope Francis every day.
Apostolic Blessing 'Urbi et Orbi':
Brothers and sisters, good evening!
You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop.  It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... but here we are... I thank you for your welcome.  The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop.  Thank you!      And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI.  Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him. 
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...
And now, we take up this journey:  Bishop and People.  This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.  A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.  Let us always pray for one another.  Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity.  It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city. 
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first - first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop.  Let us make, in silence, this prayer:  your prayer over me. 
Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I leave you now.  Thank you for your welcome.  Pray for me and until we meet again.  We will see each other soon.  Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome.  Good night and sleep well!

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