Where do you begin to reflect on the last seven days? It has been a tumultuous experience, from the moment that white smoke came from a stack that had become a pigeon perch, through the ringing of the great bell of St Peter’s and on to the echoing words of “Habemus Papem”. 


No great applause, just a stunned, rain-soaked murmur as people remarked to each other  “Whom did he say?”

But from the moment that a simply clad, white figure emerged on to the balcony, there was the realization that something significant had happened. This man was going to be different.

And so the last few days have proved to be. The Holy Spirit has given the Church a pastor, a man whose simplicity of life spreading the message of the Gospel among his people in Argentina is now called upon to do the same as Bishop of Rome. His invitation to the Eastern Church to attend his inauguration this week is but one significant action in a short space of time. His warmth in greeting the people in the Piazza, and their evident response to his generosity, bodes well for the coming months.

I wrote this piece at the weekend. Maybe Papa Francis can remind all of us of who we are and why we matter in the evangelisation mission of the Church.

Who you are

It’s not what you say

It’s who you are.

…..memories of significant gestures,

our experience of a gentle touch,

shared warmth of just being there,

the silent smiles of recognition……

beyond the immediate exchange of words,

no matter what is said

only who you are remains.