A Great Day to Be Catholic

Since Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced his retirement last month, the world was full of questions. People wanted to know why he chose to do something that hasn’t been done in 600 years. He said his health compromised his ability to do his job and I can sympathize with that.
Just today I had to give up my simple job of teaching a weekly Bootcamp Class due to my own injuries and compromised health.
Yes, I know it’s not the same as being the Vicar of Rome, but we all have our struggles and crosses to bear.
In 2005, I was selling cars, wasn’t Catholic and only mildly interested in the vote for the 264th successor to St. Peter. But what a difference a few years have made!
I have had such an amazing experience since being confirmed Catholic at the Easter Vigil in 2010. I’ve met so many wonderful lay and religious and blessed to have such a budding community of college students and young adults at my parish of SS Philip and James. But I have never regretted or questioned my decision to become Catholic.
Nothing cemented that more than the events the last couple of days. I watched to world and this country (which is trying to become more secular and caustic) fix its eyes on Rome and wonder in amazement at the ceremony, ritual, and spirituality involved in electing the next Pope.
For these two days, the world has been on pins and needles wondering how this Conclave would end; about who would be Pope and the politics involved.
Today, when I received the text message that there was white smoke, I was so full of joy. And when I tuned into EWTN for the live coverage, all of a sudden, nothing else mattered. I knew it was true for the rest of the world because the coverage was over all of the local news networks.
When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio emerged as Pope Francis, I had tears of joy. I don’t usually have tears of joy but this was special. Right up there with the day of my confirmation. He is full of firsts: the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit, the first to take the name Francis, the first to ask the people to bless him before blessing them. I’m sure he will continue to be a Pope of firsts.
Many prayers and blessings to Pope Francis and I can truly say that today is a great day to be Catholic!

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.