Among the tens of thousands standing in the rain in St. Peter’s Square for the first glimpse of the new pope was Father Timothy Byerley from the Diocese of Camden. Standing right beneath the loggia where Pope Francis gave his first benediction, Byerley got a good look at the new holy father. Calling directly from Rome, Byerley told Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the experience was overwhelming for him and the Catholic faithful in attendance.
Byerley said that the announcement of a new pope is an electrifying moment for any Catholic, but most especially for a Catholic priest. “We sensed the lord’s presence in our midst and we were just filled with joy,” he said.
What immediately struck Byerley about Pope Francis was the ease in which he assumed his new role. “The tenor of his voice and his naturalness, the calmness, I mean the square was packed,” he recalled. “He spoke with such a soothing and gracious tone. His words were so fraternal and charitable and engaging, you would think that he had been the holy father for five or 10 years. It seemed like the shoe fit him.”