The curious and faithful were captured when Pope Francis engaged the imagination of billions worldwide.
Francis rode the bus with other cardinals, paid his own hotel bill, and said at dinner after he stepped onto the balcony when white smoke showed him to be the new pope:
"God forgive you!"
Because he enjoys diversity he also appreciates unity to enrich the dialog and to address common issues by religious people, among others, as Fulton Sheen, a New York bishop said long ago. Sheen, an outstanding orator and media specialist knew how to imagine a fresh world, suggesting that all religious people can come together to pray, but don't have to be one religion.
He is humble.
And, funny with a sense of humor.
He stays close to the people and those hurting or excluded, for sure.
The evergreen virtue of hope enfolds him.
He is a Franciscan, a "green" pope.
Are we all, then?
Pope Francis is one to watch after a dry spell. He lives in the trenches with people and wants to lift up life.
I cried hours after I realized who will now steer us Catholics, and the faithful the world over.
Something was freed up within me after a wind that seemed stale.