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Witness to history

There have been six popes since Vatican II. The world is still getting acquainted with the newest leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. Some study abroad students witnessed the church’s historic moment.


Seamus Doyle, sophomore in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, witnessed the final Angelus by Pope Benedict and the first audience with Pope Francis.

“I was able to go to Pope Benedict’s final Angelus, which took place the Sunday before he resigned. It was a deeply moving experience with tens of thousands of other Catholics. We didn’t speak the same language or come from the same country, but we held a deeper truth that bonded us together. The square, which holds 500,000 people at its fullest, was nearly full. People were holding signs thanking Benedict for his service to the church and, as I stood there looking at all the people around me, it struck me that I was standing in the midst of history.”


Kelly Taylor, sophomore in the College of Business Administration, stood within feet of Pope Benedict during his final tour.

“I actually had the most awesome opportunity to be able to attend Pope Benedict’s last public audience in St. Peter’s Square. The audience starts with a procession of the pope being driven in his ‘Pope mobile’ around the square. In addition to Benedict’s last audience, I was present in St. Peter’s Square when the white smoke billowed out of the Sistine Chapel chimney. I can remember standing in the square, looking behind me and not being able to see the end of the crowd. It was simply amazing and breathtaking to be in that place at that moment in history. I love my faith, and being able to witness the election of Pope Francis is something that I will cherish forever.”

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