On February 11, 2013, the media announced Pope Benedict’s resignation from the papacy for “the good of the church”; this decision was contrary to a tradition of lifetime tenure for popes. The media widely reported that the last resignation recorded in history occurred during the Middle Ages, and then the media expressed questions about what this resignation could indicate for the future of the Catholic Church. The media also speculated as to whether Pope Benedict’s resignation had significance and meaning when lightning struck the Vatican dome within hours after the announcement.
Days later, on March 13, the media announced a newly elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. As the information unfurled, a list of three historical firsts revealed Bergoglio to be: the first pope from the Jesuit order, the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from the Americas (Argentina).
Following the unique developments and the three historical firsts, I became interested and began to follow news articles. I read various quotes by the pope and others, I read heartwarming stories filled with cheer, and then I read the pope’s first speech to the media. As I pondered all of this, I developed my own list of three cheers for the pope; this was a first for me. I thought about what he could convey and model to me as a classical, Christian educator.