Students at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood went about their normal business yesterday of getting a priestly education — except for one, very big exception. The Catholic Church, their church, elected a new pope yesterday. When the news spread of white smoke spouting from the Vatican's chimney, they all gathered in a common room in the seminary's college building to watch the events on a large, projection screen showing images from Rome. When Pope Francis went out on a balcony for his first appearance as head of the Roman Catholic church, there was clapping and cheering, said one student.
Seminarians were enthusiastic about the choice of former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. Here are comments from several other seminarians.
Jason Buck, 28, a fifth year student from West Chester:
When the pope was chosen, "My mom texted me, 'We have a Pope.' "
Kevin Lonergan, 24, 7th year student from Pottsville:
"The great humility he showed when he asked the people to pray for him before the blessing was extraordinary. ... It's an exciting time to have a pope from this side of the Atlantic."
How did they learn that a new pope had been selected? "Jason and I were in American church history class when one of our classmates yelled out, "we have a pope." They all "bolted" out of the classroom and to a common room, where a large projection screen was showing the scene in Rome to watch the rest of the events.
Robert Schmid, 26, 4th year student from Raleigh, N.C.:
"He definitely brings hope. He brings a sense of newness. ...It's a very exciting time to have a new pope from a part of the world where we've never had a pope from before."
While Lonergan and Schmid demurred about whether there had been a pool on campus about who would become the next pontiff, Buck confirmed there was. A buck a throw, with the money probably going to the collection plate. And, so, who did Buck choose? He answered with a wisdom beyond his years.
"Only the Holy Spirit knows."