Regardless of faith, Hofstra's campus paused at 2:06pm when the highly anticipated “white smoke” poured out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to signal the selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, now Pope Francis I, by the College of Cardinals.
The selection in itself is already historic, as he is the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years. The unexpected timing of the news evoked great emotion amongst members of the Hofstra Newman Club.
Joe Moncada, the social networking chair of the Newman Club and of Honduran and Ecuadorian descent could not contain his excitement for the news.
“Considering that it is a week and a half until Easter, just having a pope in general is pretty awesome," Moncada said. "But the fact that he is Latino is the icing on the cake. It hits home.”
Also elated by the selection of a Latino pope is Puerto Rican and Costa Rican American Natalia Alvarez of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Despite not being Catholic she sees a great message in today’s news.
“To have someone to be in that position…a very well respected and honored position is really an inspiration to all of us,” Alvarez said.
In addition to students, commenting on the news of a Latino pope was Hofstra history professor Michael D’Innocenzo.
“For the big bulk of Italian Cardinals to choose someone from not only outside of Italy, but outside of Europe, I think it’s a very positive sign for the Catholic Church," D'Innocenzo. "It’s representing diversity.”
The quick election of Pope Francis I was highly unexpected after two days and five votes. But as Bridget McCormack, Hofstra's Catholic Campus minister put it, “That’s how the Holy Spirit works.”
The arrival of a new pope brings a new era to the Vatican and with that, supplies much hope for the future of the millions of Catholics whom he leads.
When asked if she had any hopes for Pope Francis I McCormack said, “I’m just praying a lot for the new pope, and I’m really excited to get to know more about him.”