Pope Name Contest Winner

     It’s been just a little over a month since we were given our new Holy Father and learned that his name is Francis.   The month has gone by quickly as we’ve gotten to know him.

     As already reported in a previous posting, our family had a “Name the Pope” contest in which we each picked two #’s from  1 to 265 and got the corresponding names of the pope that matched that number.   You may recall I had Sylvester and Sergius.   While we were picking our #’s, my sister Kath asked why couldn’t the new pope pick a new name – why was he bound to the list of previous popes names.   I said that he wasn’t bound, but that it was a custom that Pope John Paul I deviated from, but that was the first time in a long time that anyone had.  I asked her what name she would choose that wasn’t on the list and she said her choice would be Declan.   I said that I would pick Joseph.   No one else at the table of choosing offered any other name to the discussion.

   The rules committee now realizes it was a mistake not to ask each person in the contest to select a never-before-used name (or maybe two) just in case.   If any of us are still alive for the next conclave we’ll do that.

   So when we found out that the Pope-elect had chosen Francis, it seemed there was no winner to the contest.   That was until…..

   I got an e-mail from Mrs. Carroll telling me that someone else in the contest had also declared what name he/she (giving nothing away) would like the new pope to choose and the name wasn’t one on the list.   So now there were three who had clearly stated what non-list name would be a preference.

     A three way tie?   Hardly.

     The unidentified contestant is a Westhoff by adoption.   When the family went to Virginia for Dr. Carroll’s funeral, Mrs. McCaa (pronounced McKay) (Seton’s German teacher and longtime tutor of Seton students) was adopted by my siblings into the family.  There were so many Setonites who did so much to make the time in Virginia for Jim, Dave, Kath, Barb and Wendy (and for Mrs. Carroll, too) wonderful, but Mrs. McCaa’s house was the most common place of gathering, and she had very creative ways of making a gathering for a funeral memorable and enjoyable.

    Here’s what happened in the contest.  As the conclave drew near, Mrs. McCaa asked if she too could join the contest which she had read about on this blog.  She was allowed to enter and her selections were Dionysius and Evaristus.   We felt pretty sure she wasn’t going to win.

    At Seton, when the white smoke poured heavenward, the students and most of the teachers gathered in the gym where Mrs. Parriott had it set up for everyone to watch and welcome our new Holy Father.   Mrs. Carroll and Mrs. McCaa were in Mrs. Cooper’s office watching on a computer.   Shortly before Cardinal Tauran made the famous proclamation of “Habemus Papam”, Mrs. McCaa said, “I wish he would choose the name Francis.”  

     Now, this may have been just a desperate attempt at relevancy since Dionysius and Evaristus, though nice names, really didn’t stand a realistic chance.   Still, it is remarkable.

    The rules committee did not want to jump to any quick decision.   It has carefully considered the unusual circumstances, and since rules did not prohibit anyone from choosing a name not on the list, everyone had that option if he or she so chose to exercise it.  

   Wanting to be more careful not to be rash, the rules committee also decided to check with Mrs. Cooper (in fact, just e-mailed her 30 seconds ago)  to confirm what Mrs. Carroll had reported.   Mrs. Cooper has just e-mailed back (in less than a minute) and confirms that she, Mrs. Carroll and Mrs. McCaa were all standing around the computer waiting for the Pope’s name to be announced when Mrs. McCaa made her declaration.  

    Therefore, with full authority, the rules committee is happy to announce “Habemus Winneram”  and it is Mrs. McCaa.  

   Congratulations.   The prize is being arranged.   We hope that when you receive it you will be sure to post a picture on OurSeton.


Jezu, ufam Tobie.   Alleluia!         

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