Black River— This week most Catholics might be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day weekend, as the selection of 266 pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church was revealed. Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio (76 years old), now called Francis is the new pope and the first non-European to lead the church in a millennia.
Since Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down as head of the Catholic church February 28, most of the world has been waiting in anticipation for the announcement of his successor.
The last pope to resign willingly was 600 years ago, so it isn’t surprising that black smoke that billowed from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, finally turned white. As a tradition, the white smoke signifies the selection of the next pope. 115 cardinals of the Catholic Church eligible to vote for the next pope voted four times a day, two votes in the morning and two in the evening.
Today marked the second day of the conclave, an elaborate voting process decreed by Pope Gregory X in 1274, that cardinal electors had to be locked in a room until the next pope is chosen. This decision was made after it took 3 years to vote on a new pope, the Roman Catholic Church’s longest papal selection in history.
“As a Catholic clergy, we are excited this is certainly historical,” said Father Gavin Demarais of the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Black River, New York. “We will have to just pray and let the Holy Spirit lead us that the best choice was made,” said Father Demarais.
Although the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came as a shock to some, Father Demarais pointed out that most individuals retire earlier in life and would not usually be working full time at 87 years of age.