By Jessica Weiss
As she made tea for a Catholic youth group in Buenos Aires five years ago, 21-year-old Agustina Blanco little suspected her lowly mate would grace the lips of a future pope.
On March 13th, when Habemus Papum (“We have a pope”) sounded on TV screens around the world, revealing Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, the young Catholic youth leader was shocked.
She ran out of her house toward the city’s cathedral, downtown, where she had heard Bergoglio speak many times. Though one of the first to arrive, she watched the crowd in the plaza swell throughout the late-summer evening. Many who celebrated alongside her were also youth.
“My reaction was of total joy for all that this would signify for Argentina and for Latin America,” she says. “Since March 13th, the pope is a figure who is close to us, who speaks our language, who rides the bus and who walks our streets. That totally demolishes the idea that the church is remote and far.”