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Rome Reports

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Francis begins his eighth year as pope

On March 12, 2013, the conclave doors were officially closed at 5:30 in the evening with this gesture by the Master of Ceremonies.

“All, outside.”

Shortly before, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and his fellow 114 cardinals swore the vote to secrecy. 

After more than 24 hours, at 7:06 on March 13, white smoke emerged from atop the Sistine Chapel, signaling the election of a new Pope. 

Shortly over an hour later, the French Cardinal Protodeacon Jean-Louis Tauran officially announced the result of the election to the world.

“Habemus Papam.”

Then, for the first time, Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s basilica.

“Brothers and sisters, good evening.”

It has been eight years since that day, and the Pope has since poked fun at the anniversary of his election.

“Regarding the eighth year of my pontificate, should I keep my fingers crossed? I don’t know if the pace of my travels will slow down. I only confess that on this trip to Iraq I got much more tired than in others…84 years of age don’t come without a cost. We will see what happens.”

The pope is starting this new year of his pontificate with big plans. He hopes to travel to Lebanon and Hungary, and maybe South America. 

After his visit to Iraq, Pope Francis is searching for new ways to help the minority of Christians in the Middle East and to improve relations with the Muslim community. He is also promoting causes such as vaccine distribution to underdeveloped countries, and the protection of the environment.