Why The Pope’s Name Rings a Bell

The white smoke from the most-watched chimney in Rome came out a lot sooner than most of us have anticipated and the BBC breaking news confirmed my gut-feel. Someone has been chosen but he is not our own Cardinal Tagle. I watched the TV disappointed like most Filipinos.

“Now what? Next controversial news please,” I was saying deep inside as I return to my station after grabbing a cup of free coffee from our pantry’s vendo. “We can now move on,” I conceded with the thought that this hype about the papal election is now over and to be forgotten.

It wasn’t the case.

More news about the new pope eventually spread and it caught my attention. Along with billions of Catholics and the rest of world, I soon learned that the newly elected pope is the first ever Jesuit and the first one from Latin America who will assume the highest seat in the Catholic Church. He will also be known as Pope Francis I in reference to one of the very few saints I can recall in a jiffy—St. Francis of Assisi.

Though I cannot remember every detail of St. Francis of Assisi’s life as told years ago by my mother, and religion teachers, its essence that despite being privileged he has chosen to be poor, to serve the poor remained in my memory. It made me a silent fan.

In fact, the story of St. Francis of Assisi has stuck in my mind that his name was the only one that immediately came out during our son’s christening ceremony. “Give me a name of the saint whose footsteps you would like your child to follow,” the priest asked. “Saint Francis of Assisi,” I answered without hesitation.

If I remember it right, that was the last time I heard about him and our son is now more likely following the path of cartoon characters—lately he asserts that he is Ben 10 and every now and then my wife and I believe that he is one of the monsters.

But five years later I didn’t expect that I will hear the word Assisi again. And what the Argentinean pope has told during his first press conference have been inspiring so far, just as inspiring when I first heard about St. Francis of Assisi’s meekness and compassion more than 30 years ago. So even if I am probably among the least vocal about religion I just might keep track about what will happen in the next days to come. The best of luck to our new pope.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (This weekend is a whole lot better than it was a year ago. Wifey’s in the hospital during this time last year.)


Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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