I remember in the days leading up to and after Bl. JPII’s passing , how it seemed every eye was turned to Rome. The news channels were constantly streaming stories of his life, information on the conclave, and speculation as to who our next Pope would be. I was in college at the time and remember watching EWTN in the dorms when the white smoke puffed from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney. We have a Pope! I ran down to the student center after calling some of my family members in my excitement. It was packed with students all watching the TV screens to see who it would be (I actually had a dream that it was Cardinal Arinze- I guess I’m not psychic ;)). We all cheered when our new Holy Father emerged from behind the doors. One of the Theology professors standing nearby announced, “it’s tradition that classes are cancelled when a new Pope is elected.” I think he probably did let his students off.
Thank you, Pope Emeritus Benedict for your service to the Church! You are greatly loved by her members. I can’t wait for the announcement of our next Holy Father, and I hope to ingrain that moment in time in my memory as well. :)