We planned to go to the mass for the opening of the Conclave at 10:00 in Saint Peter’s Basilica. We left our apartment after our morning routines, went through security, and were inside the Basilica at 09:45. We should have come an hour earlier. We were behind the second or third pillar far down the nave from the main altar. We could not see the main altar through most of the mass. At the time of communion, most people went to receive communion and we were able to get a partial view of the main altar for the final blessing.
Habemus Papam! We were at home with the live webcam trained on the Sistine Chapel chimney. White smoke emerged at 19:06, indicating that a pope had been chosen. Within a few minutes we were out the door and walking to Saint Peter’s Square. There were lots of people from our neighborhood also hurrying to the square. As we got closer, it became a throng of people. Many of the younger adults were jogging or running to the square. It was raining lightly as we left our apartment, but stopped shortly after we reached Saint Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis is a Jesuit. We are impressed with his choice of the name Francis and we will watch events unfold to understand his choice. Jesuits are famous for high schools and universities around the world. The Jesuits also operate shelters, food kitchens, and work with the poor and neglected at scores of locations in the United States and around the world (http://www.jesuitvolunteers.org/placement-sites/current-jv-placement-sites).