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What is in a name?

white smokeI have a story that you may not believe for I have no witnesses to back me up.

I dropped my friend Harry off at his home and was driving by the scenic steel plant in Hamilton Ontario. The radio was on, and the announcer burst out with the words we have White Smoke. What was odd was at the very moment three chimney’s at the steel plant were, in fact, bellowing- you guessed it white smoke.

That’s not the story. About an hour later, I was still driving waiting for the big announcement, and the various talking heads on the radio were on to the inevitable point about the name the new pontiff would have to pick and how significant that would be to all Vatican watchers.

Without a word of exaggeration, I said out loud- OK I talk to myself- that wouldn’t it be amazing if he took the name Francis. I ‘pontificated’ to the empty seats in my car that this choice of a name would really shake¬† things up. I also added my expert opinion on this possibility with the words” that that would never happen”!

I don’t really know what this will mean for the Church in the mid to long term. I do know my friend the late Deacon Bert Cambre is smiling in heaven, and I have a suspicion that it will not be business as usual.

All I can say right now is Wow- who saw that coming.

Here is a clip I posted some time ago about the early life of St. Francis. Take a moment and see how Francis overcomes his fear of the man with leprosy and by doing so his life is transformed.



2 Responses to “What is in a name?”

  1. Lisa Papineau says:

    Deacon Mike,

    That’s amazing! It’s surprising that a Pope has not chosen this name before, given St. Francis’ heart for service, especially to the poor, which is one of the most important qualities for the Pontiff to have.

    May the Lord richly bless Pope Francis I, and use him as a witness of God’s love, forgiveness and salvation to the whole world.

  2. deaconmike says:


    I know how you feel- this could be the start of a whole new chapter by looking back to the 1200’s and this simple man named Francis.

    Deacon Mike