Georgetown Celebrates Election of First Jesuit Pope

Posted in GUMC Stories

Statement by Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia

“On this joyous day, we offer our prayers of thanksgiving and celebration for the new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

“This is an historic moment for our Church and for our community that the first Jesuit and the first Cardinal from the Americas has become Pope, the leader of our global community of believers.

“Our work at Georgetown is informed by the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. This very same tradition played an essential role in the formation of our new Pope, and we have seen it expressed in his preference and care for the poor, his vow of poverty, and his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. We are grateful to share this spiritual affinity with our new Pontiff.”

Georgetown, The United States’ first Catholic and Jesuit university, is celebrating the election of the first Jesuit pontiff, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., of Buenos Aires, who will be known as Pope Francis.

“We received the news of Pope Francis’ election with great joy made all the deeper because he is the first Jesuit pope and first pope from South America,” said Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Georgetown’s vice president of mission and ministry. “We pray for him and our church.”

Francis, the first pope to be known by that name, was elected after only two days and five rounds of voting during the conclave convened by the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The new pope’s Mass of Installation will take place on March 19, according to the Vatican.

A Big Brotherhood

The new Roman Catholic pontiff greeted the huge audience gathered outside the Basilica over an hour after the white smoke signaling the election of a new pontiff filtered out of the Sistine Chapel chimney.

“Let us begin this journey together, successor and the people,” Francis told the crowd. “It is a journey for the Roman Catholic Church. It is a journey of friendship, of love, of trust and faith. Let us pray always for one another. Let us pray for the whole world because, let us have a big brotherhood.”

The Jesuit pope thanked the College of Cardinals for electing him as successor to St. Peter as head of the Roman Catholic Church and also asked the faithful to pray for Benedict XVI, pope emeritus.

Thanking the Church

“I would like to thank you for your embrace, also to the Roman Catholic Church and the bishops, thank you very much,” Francis added.

Francis was born in Buenos Aires on Dec. 17, 1936. He was ordained in the Society of Jesus on Dec. 13, 1969 after finishing his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.

He was consecrated as bishop in June 1992 and proclaimed a cardinal on Feb. 21, 2001.

Unexpected Election

Rev. David Collins, S.J., a Georgetown associate professor of history, noted that the election of the first pontiff from South America was something “no one expected.”

“He was not on anybody’s top 10 list and it’s exciting to see what happens in a conclave,” Collins said.

Collins added that the unexpected election of the archbishop of Buenos Aires shows the unpredictability of a conclave.

“Things can happen in a conclave and the cardinals can move in a direction that is completely unanticipated,” he says. “This is an example of the exciting things that can happen once the cardinals are called into seclusion and have only one another and their conscience to act around.”

WATCH: Rev. David Collins, SJ, Associate Professor, Georgetown University Department of History, discusses the election of Pope Francis.

(Published March 14, 2013)