When Pope Francis was elected last week, HWS students participating in the study abroad program in Rome were among the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square. CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Jacob Resnick ’14 and Lincoln Young ’14; Associate Dean for Global Education Tom D’Agostino P’15 was interviewed by NBC for a Nightly News segment; and sophomore Adriana D’Agostino ’15 shared her experiences as a guest essayist to the Democrat and Chronicle.
In her article, Adriana D’Agostino says, “I never would have thought that my study abroad experience would consist of witnessing the resignation of a Pope and the inauguration of a new one.”
She writes of seeing Pope Benedict’s final public appearance and rushing back to the Square from her apartment to learn the name of the newly-elected Pope.
“Standing in St. Peter’s Square as the Pope addressed the world for the first time was indescribable,” she writes.
Her full article follows.
An interview with Resnick and YNN reporters is available online.
Democrat and Chronicle
William Smith College student witnessed history in Rome
Adriana D’Agostino • guest essay • March 16, 2013
I never would have thought that my study abroad experience would consist of witnessing the resignation of a Pope and the inauguration of a new one.
I live about five blocks from St. Peter’s Square so I’ve seen the chaos and the crowds of people grow with each passing week. I had the opportunity to see Pope Benedict’s last appearance, even seeing him ride around the square in his “Pope mobile.” The square was filled with thousands of people, making it difficult to see anything, but just being surrounded by so many people from around the world was an incredible experience.
The day before the conclave was to begin, I was traveling back from class on a bus completely filled with priests. The majority of them spoke English, so I was able to understand their excitement about the upcoming days.
After classes on Wednesday, a few of my friends headed over to St. Peter’s Square to see if the Cardinals had made a decision. Black smoke appeared from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel, so there was a feeling that there would not be an announcement of a new Pope that day.
A bit later, however, I got a message that white smoke was billowing from the chimney. I grabbed my camera and ran out the door. I waited in the rain along with tens of thousands of others, many waving flags as we all looked to the balcony where the new Pope would appear.
The time had finally come.
The curtains covering the window where the Pope was to appear had opened. One of the cardinals addressed the square, saying the new Pope had taken the name “Francesco.”
Suddenly, I heard people around me chanting “Francesco, Francesco” without even knowing which Cardinal was chosen.
While waiting for the Pope to come out, I asked a man in front of me if he knew which Cardinal it was because I couldn’t quite translate all of the Italian being spoken. I was so excited because he had initially told me he was American, but I soon heard other people saying he was from Argentina. It was impressive to me that a non-European had been elected. To me, this showed the world that the Catholic Church is ready for change.
The Pope finally made his appearance. Standing in a sea of thousands of people, I clapped and cheered. Standing in St. Peter’s Square as the Pope addressed the world for the first time was indescribable. To see people from all over the world gathered in one place for one sole purpose was extremely humbling.
I will never forget that feeling or what I saw and to have had this opportunity was an incredible privilege.
D’Agostino is a sophomore at William Smith College in Geneva. She is a part of Hobart and William Smith Colleges study abroad program in Rome.