I was in Rome when Pope John Paul died and in Paris when the news broke that a new pope had been appointed. I was 20 years old and felt like I was in the center of the universe. Being surrounded by the cathedrals that had seen this happen for thousands of years and receiving the news via the ringing of bells, the rising of smoke and the reactions of Romans was all at once exactly how it should have been and very, very surreal. I remember thinking that I had to get back to Italy immediately to find out what was really going on, as if the TV and Internet didn’t exist.
Notre Dame students studying abroad in Rome posted this photo today and it brought back those memories of being so young and in the middle of such historical happenings. I really hope they’re drinking wine and stuffing their faces on pistachio gelato in Piazza Navona tonight.
I hope the cardinals conclave like a champion too.
(Image via nd.edu)