Dateline: Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Das Schmidt Haus in suburban Des Moines.
I’m clapping, hooting, and hollering while tears stream down my cheeks.
“What is it, Mom?” my four-year-old asks.
I try my best to explain this momentous occasion with my children, but a preschooler and a toddler are only able to banter so much about white smoke, bells, and the next successor to Saint Peter who will soon step out on the Loggia of the Blessings at St. Peter’s Basilica.
We don’t subscribe to cable at Das Schmidt Haus. Heck, we barely have a working television. How was I to keep up with the news?
Have no fear … social media is here! History still unfolded before my eyes on March 13 thanks to social media. I watched the Vatican’s live YouTube feed of St. Peter’s Basilica on my laptop. I listened to Fr. Dave Dwyer and Lino Rulli provide play-by-play commentary on SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel via the radio app on my iPad. I learned more about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio thanks to all my smart Twitter friends.
Social media provided the opportunity to witness, up close and personal, the seagull perched on top the conclave chimney, to hear the euphoric cheers of those gathered in St. Peter’s Square as white smoked bellowed, and to pray with my Church family located all across the globe when Pope Francis humbly greeted the world.
My husband Joel shared this great analogy. It’s reminiscent of sitting in an orphanage waiting to be adopted and all of a sudden, the man who’s going to adopt us walks through the door and gives us a great big hug. At last, we have a papa to care for us! We don’t know a lot about him just yet, but we love and honor him nonetheless.
While we weren’t literally sitting side-by-side waiting for our papa together, we virtually linked arms and waited. And that waiting was accompanied with so much hopeful anticipation.
One of the best memories I carry with me from these past weeks is the connectivity I felt to my sisters and brothers in Christ by way of social media. Engagement in Catholic social media has brought me into communion with others and fostered a growth of spiritual friendships in my life.
I desire to stay connected with these friends, faithful Catholics doing their part to share their love for Holy Mother Church. I truly can’t imagine meeting our new Holy Father Papa Francis for the first time without them by my digital side.
I’d love to hear from you. What impact did social media have on you during the recent papal election process?
Copyright 2013 Lisa Schmidt