So, like many around the globe, I followed the Conclave in Rome. By chance, when the white smoke appeared, I was visiting the studios of Telemundo (the entertainment network based in Hialeah, Florida, that targets the Spanish-speaking market). Even before Pope Francis was named, the mood was electric as the network’s teams awaited important news for their viewers. It was a privilege to be immersed in their anticipation…and fun.
Soon thereafter, an Argentine was pronounced the new leader of the world’s Catholics. News coverage since then has been providing speculation and insight about how this choice might impact the Church. The complete surprise has been its impact on me!
My immediate reaction was an unexpected feeling of personal celebration and sense of “belonging.” Given my religious (or perhaps I should say non-religious) leanings, I attribute this to the special place Argentine holds in my psyche (as my “second” country).
Nonetheless, I was not prepared to be related to Pope Francis. My stepdaughter’s mother-in-law is the first cousin of the Pope’s sister-in-law. Furthermore, if we ignore connections by marriage and simply use “degrees of separation,” I am just two steps away due to close Argentine friends!
“Small world” stories are common in our globalized world. I am not surprised that the “degrees of separation theory” works. Yet, this connection with someone so prominent has moved me. Since going to Brazil, many diverse streams have joined the river that is my life. Being connected to the Pope is a wonderful reminder of all the lives that have touched mine. I like to think that my celebration embraces all of them…a little like his open arms above Saint Peter’s Square.
© Copyright 2013 by Bethe Lee Moulton