So today was the first day of the conclave to select the new Pope. There a total of 115 eligible cardinals who will make up that conclave. One that I know personally from when my brother was in the seminary — Cardinal Whuerl. He was a Catholic Priest when he mentored the seminarians, back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Then he became Bishop of Pittsburgh and that’s when my husband met him when Father Bob was installed at his parish in Tarentum, PA. We were all disappointed when he was moved to Washington DC, but obviously happy that he was promoted to Cardinal.
We had our bingo appreciation dinner on Sunday night and I sat across from my brother, and we got talking about the upcoming conclave. He said that the Americans actually shook up the Italian media a bit by the way they approached the interviews — unheard of from any Cardinal from Europe. So that got everyone buzzing about the American Cardinals and that maybe change was something to be considered, now throwing the Americans into the realm of possibilities. Media began to buzz worldwide and the theory that “no American would ever be Pope” was no longer valid.
Father Bob has a couple favorites. He likes Cardinal O’Malley from Massachusetts and Cardinal Denardo from Texas. Both have past ties to Pittsburgh and he personally knows each of them. He feels they understand the issues and challenges facing the Catholicism around the world.
But anyways, I was so busy today that I only had time to find out that the smoke was still black by a news feed from The Catholic Company on my Facebook page. Okay, onto another day which we all expected! And I’m glad it didn’t happen during some long meeting today.
What’s really amazing to me is how technology is affecting this election for the new Pope. Okay, I admit, I’m utilizing it — so if I am in some meeting, I know right away that a decision has been reach so I can find the closest news feed to me at the time. I’m signed up to receive a text message and email as soon as the smoke is white. You can sign up too at PopeAlarm.com. Too crazy right? Well, don’t mistake it for PopeAlert.com or you may entering into a fantasy league of who is selected as Pope. I had to laugh out loud at that one! Or have you heard about Adopt a Cardinal? This is a site where you can choose a Cardinal or be assigned one so that you can pray for him during the conclave that he receives the Holy Spirit to select the next Pope. Interesting. And Cardinal Whuerl is featured on the homepage!
I’ve founds so many sites, blogs, tweets and articles — it’s amazing what’s out there. And I started to think about it — you know, the entire world is focused on this election! As a marketer, I can truly say — what a way to receive worldwide PR at no cost — while reinforcing your followers and their faith. People are educating themselves, following and discussing their faith throughout the day! It’s historical! And what a contrast to the recent 2012 US Presidential election which turned neighbor against neighbor. We are uniting in faith — the one major factor blatantly missing from the Presidential election.
I believe there is nothing that happens by coincidence. God has a plan, and he’s masterfully aligning all of us as his faithful followers during this time to reaffirm, reinvigorate and renew our faith in Catholicism. I feel so lucky to be alive to experience yet another Papacy conclave. And I sit here, holding my necklace — the cross that Father Bob had blest by Pope John Paul II when he was in the seminary in Rome, along with the religious medallion blest by Pope Benedict XVI that features Pope John Paul on one side and Pope Benedict on the other — I will now have to add another piece of jewelry to represent our new leader! Bring on the white smoke!