Will we ever forget?
Everyone wanted a view. Seemingly out of nowhere materialized the Carabineri band, a detachement of the Italian military and the Swiss guards - all ready to pay their respects to the new Pontiff.
After waiting about 20 minutes there was definite activity on the balcony. Someone emerged and released the red curtains which had been tied back either side of the great window. The crowd gasped. And then Cardinal Estevez emerged and with much sssshing the crowd fell silent.
'Cari fratelli e sorelle,' (Dear brothers and sisters) he began. The crowd began to ask why he was not speaking Latin. Then he repeated the same words in Spanish (have they elected a Latin American?), and then in German, French and English. The crowd held its breath.
'Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum'
(And one could feel a wave of Great Joy sweep through the Square)
(Applause and rejoicing - I must confess to being on the verge of tears)
'Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum'
(Nerves well and truly wracked
(And I cannot resist shouting 'Ratzinger' as Cardinal Estevez pauses for a mischievous smile)
'Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem'
(Get on with it!)
(The square explodes with joy!)
'Qui sibi nomen imposuit...'
Immediately the chant went up - 'Benedetto! Benedetto!'
The Senior Cardinal deacon withdrew and Vatican staff emerged to hang the traditional tapestry with the arms of the previous Pope over the balcony.
After that they withdrew and the Cardinal electors began to appear at the balconies either side of the central one. They jostled each other for a good view and one or two began waving their birettas like schoolboys.
And then the processional cross was brought out onto the balcony by one of the Vatican MCs followed by the man himself! Benedict the 16th - Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. He looked overwhelmed - he gave his shy smile and began waving to the crowd. Not a natural showman like his predecessor he looked ill-at-ease, but for a second (and several people have said this to me) he looked just like John Paul II. A microphone was produced and he gave his message.
Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficent instruments and I particularly entrust myself to your prayers.
In the joy of the Risen Lord, trusting in His constant help, we move ahead. May the Lord help us and and may His Mother be at our side. Thank you.
Long may he reign, and may the Lord sustain him in his service.
Plus - Interesting Rumour over at NLM's Shawn Tribe:
News has come to the NLM that we may see the venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman beatified very shortly now. It is said that this announcement may be made by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in approximately two weeks time.Because of the Holy Father's regard for Newman, I can well understand him wanting to do this beatification himself. Obviously, this is just speculation at this stage, but I'm already excited about the prospect of an October Beatification.
The NLM has also been told that the beatification ceremony will likely take place in Rome in October and that the Holy Father will beatify Cardinal Newman himself.
This will be a glorious day for Catholics of the English speaking world if so. Speaking personally, I have one entire shelf of my personal library dedicated to the great Cardinal's writings.
Please pray for the Cardinal's cause in your daily prayers and upcoming Masses.