The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam?

It was two days before Lent began that we got the news from Pope Benedict XVI that he was abdicating the seat of St. Peter. The world, and of course many Catholics were left in shock by this news. In the lifetime of all citizens of earth in this day and age we have never seen this happen. Many questioned his reason while many accepted this as a sign of his leadership skills in identifying the need to step down due to health reasons.
On Tuesday March 13th, 2013 the 115 Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church gathered in the Sistine chapel to begin the voting process to elect the 266th Pope. As afternoon approached all eyes were gazing at the chimney atop the chapel for the sign as to whether or not a pope was elected. As many had predicted, the sign of black smoke billowed out, indicating that no consensus was reached, therefore they would have to resume the following day.

After today, we will all remember where we were and what we were doing; here is my story. As I left home today for work, I prayed that I would be in a position during the voting process to witness the moment when a Pope was selected. Beginning Monday, March 11th of this week, U.S Customs and Border Protection at Ft. Lauderdale Executive airport changed their operating hours to 12pm - 8pm, therefore I decided to leave Nassau at 11am so I would be there right after they opened. When I arrived at my destination I had to wait in line as number 7 to get on the ramp at customs as they were extremely busy. Thankfully I have XM radio in my aircraft and so I was able to listen to "The Catholic Channel" while updates of the conclave were being announced. 
It was 12:45pm that I landed and as I sat in my aircraft and listened to Fr. Dave Dwyer and Lino Ruili on The Catholic Channel I heard the screams in the background that was a clear indication that the smoke from the Sistine Chapel was white; the hosts revealed this to be the case. I can not begin to tell you have happy I was when the news came in that we have our 266th Pope. Emotions overwhelmed me as I fought back the tears; this I learned to be the case for many who received the news first hand.

Shortly afterwards the words that everyone was anxious to hear was revealed: Habemus Papam! It was just a matter of time for our new Pope to step out onto to balcony so that everyone who were present and those who were watching on television could see who the new Shepherd of the Catholic Church would be. I am also thankful for my wife who was texting me with updates as it unfolded on EWTN. Technology is great, isn't it?

The time now is 2:30pm and as I sit and wait next in line to pull up to the customs ramp I am prayed that I am held a few minutes more so I can hear when our new Pope emerges from the balcony. Unfortunately it did not pan out that way as I had to pull up and shut down the aircraft, turned off the radios and XM radio :( and proceed inside customs. About 3:10pm my wife texted me to say that the new pope was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio or Argentina and has taken the name of Francis. We have our new Pope!

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