It was a late night for many church leaders, clergy and the laity in Goa, as they stayed glued to their television sets, waiting for the white smoke to emerge from atop the Sistine Chapel.
Not content with the smoke rising into the sky, they tried to shake off their sleep even longer, and waited for the newly chosen Pope Francis to appear on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica. This happened more than an hour later.
The lights were up in the Bishop's palace at Altinho till the wee hours on Thursday morning. A few top church leaders stayed awake, while Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao was in Bangalore, and was returning to Goa.
"I went to sleep at 3am, happy that the new Pope holds out a bright promise for the future of the Church," a leader said.
Many Catholics and others all over the state also followed the election of the Pope till early morning. The clergy and laity also prayed for the new Pope during regular mass on Thursday morning.
A grateful Church expressed its joy after the election of the new Pope as a worthy successor of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Pledging filial respect, obedience and the support of prayers of the faithful of this Archdiocese, Ferrao underlined the simplicity and the humility of Pope Francis and reminded the faithful of the call he made to undertake with him a journey of brotherhood, love and trust, for a great spirit of fraternity in the world.
The priests, nuns and lay faithful of the archdiocese of Goa and Daman will observe March 19 as a day of prayer for the Pope. The occasion will coincide with the inauguration of his ministry to the Church and to the world by the new Pope and the feast day of St Joseph, Patron of Universal Church.
The anticipated Chrism Mass to be held in the Cathedral at Old Goa at 10am on March 21 will also be the thanksgiving mass for the new Pope. [TOI]