Argentineans cheer for Pope Francis - their local boy made good shepherd

 

Buenos Aires

The joke doing the rounds in Buenos Aires at the moment is that porteños, as locals here are known, care more about football than the new Pope. But following the surprise appointment of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, as the new Bishop of Rome last week, Argentineans have clearly warmed to the idea of having their own pontiff. Thousands of people packed the capital’s main square over the past two days to celebrate Francis’s inauguration.

All aspects of life here seem to link back to the beautiful game, and the mood on Monday evening was every inch the stadium spectacle, a mixture of chanting, clapping and festive mood. The city was determined to put on a show, draping yellow and white Vatican flags from government buildings, alongside the light blue and white Argentinean national colours, and erecting giant screens with a live stream from the Vatican.

Teenagers came in their droves for the all-night vigil that began on Monday evening and ran through to the papal ceremony that began just after 5am local time. “The young people are really important,” said Candelaria Ramos, 20, a student who had headed downtown with other friends from Catholic Action Argentina. “It’s great to see so many teenagers here who care about the Church and the pope. It is overwhelming.”

At 3.30am, the faithful received an unexpected phone call from the Pope himself, broadcast on loudspeakers. He thanked the crowd for “having got together to pray” before telling them to “look after each other”. As he finished, chants of “Viva el Papa!” broke out.

For Oscar Luis, 59, dressed in a Pope cap and T-shirt, the inauguration of Francis was an important step for his country. “I’m very proud. Argentina has been reborn with this Pope,” he said. “Many people here have left the Church, but with him there [in the Vatican] something extraordinary can happen.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of a mark...

Recruitment Genius: Help Desk Specialist

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides Reliabili...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Managing Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor