Moments ago, less than an hour after white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel, the world and the over 100,000 gathered in St. Peter's Square witnessed the selection of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's successor. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Emerging at the papal balcony too wide applause, he took the name Pope Francis I.
While there is much already online about the new Pope, his background and age, for example, and the fact that he was on the list of "close seconds" from the previous papal conclave, Pope Francis I offered a glimpse of hope and change for the new papacy. In a word: simplicity. A Jesuit by education and training, the word simplicity goes well with the humble reputation of the various Franciscan Orders.
He joked with the crowd saying that first and foremost Rome was selecting its next bishop and his brother cardinals had to search very far and wide to find him.
As a mark of this humility and simplicity, Pope Francis addressed the multitudes gathered by asking them first to offer prayers for Benedict XVI. Then he asked the crowds to pray for him and to bless him before he offered his blessing to the people gathered. Bowing his head for a moment of silence, the throng immediately hushed. For a moment all that could be heard was the buzz of open mics and some wind. Then he began with the simplest of prayers: The Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be.
He closed with a plenary indulgence, graciously offering the forgiveness of sins to those gathered. Before bidding good night to the people he told them that he would go the following day to pray before Mary (as is a tradition for a new pope to do) asking for her continued embrace upon her people.
And so begins what Pope Francis I called "the journey that we will walk together."