Welcoming a Pope at St. Gertrude School
This guest post by Sr. Mary Aquinas, OP, was originally written for the Facebook page of St. Gertrude School in Madeira (OH).
As SGS students, faculty, parents, grandparents and special guests exited the gym following the Primary Program, word spread quickly that we had a pope. White smoke was billowing from the stove pipe above the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St. Peter’s were ringing. Soon St. Gertrude’s bells began to ring as well.
I announced over the PA system that “We have a Pope! Turn on your classroom televisions – any channel, because all the channels should be covering this!” The school was electric with excitement. We had been learning and preparing and praying for this moment since February 28.
As we waited to see our new Papa dressed in white, white smoke continued to billow from the stove pipe in Rome and white snow fell beautifully like manna from heaven outside, allowing us to share in the whiteness of the moment. The Holy Spirit had moved swiftly in the souls of our cardinals gathered in Rome.
Dismissal interrupted our watching. Students were slow to respond to their names and buses. They did not want to miss the announcement. They peeked at every classroom television as they exited the building.
When I returned to the main office after dismissal duty, it was full of views. I hurried to my office – it, too, was full of viewers. More viewers joined us. The moment was too exciting and historical to be alone. Good news is meant to be shared with friends!
Habemus Papam! Cardinal Bergolio… Who is he? He isn’t one of the top 19 or 20 names the press has been naming. Is he an Italian? No, he is not one of the Italian cardinals… Argentina!? South America!? The Holy Spirit really did move! To the end of the world. Wow! Don’t you love our Church! The first pope from the Americas!
Let us keep Pope Francis I in our daily prayers, knowing that he will keep us in his prayers as members of his universal flock. Viva il Papa Francis!
Sr. Mary Aquinas Halbmaier, OP, is the Principal of St. Gertrude School. She has a Masters in Educational Leadership from Northwestern State, LA, and a Masters in Theological Studies from Providence College, RI. She has been principal of three Catholic schools in Newport News, VA; Gallitan, TN; and Saint Louis Cathedral Academy in New Orleans.
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