Seminarian prepares to watch for smoke signals

by Jessica Langdon

KANSAS CITY, Kan. —  Archdiocesan seminarian Luke Doyle doesn’t have to rely on the new Pope App to hear when white smoke is wafting over the Vatican.

‘As one of two archdiocesan seminarians studying in Rome this year, all he has to do is throw open his window to hear the roar of the crowd coming up from St. Peter’s Square.

“From the rooftop of the North American College we are certainly able to take in most of the sights,” he said, “and I was actually blessed with a room in the house with a beautiful view of St. Peter’s. So I am definitely within earshot of the events taking place in the square . . . as long as I have my window open!”

Doyle and fellow seminarian Agustin Martinez, both in their first year of theology, feel particularly fortunate to be studying in Rome at this historic time.

“I will certainly be watching the ‘smoke announcements’ as often as possible!” Doyle said March 11, the day before the conclave was to start.

“To be here in Rome during a conclave to elect the next successor of St. Peter is truly a gift and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I certainly don’t want to miss out on any of it!” he noted.

“My mom and my brother James are in town visiting me this week,” he continued, “and I don’t think they would let me miss out on these great events even if I tried!”

Doyle planned to spend as much time as possible in the square, or else to watch from the roof of the Pontifical North American College where the seminarians live.

“I think, for the most part, that life goes on as normally as it can,” said Doyle. “But bear in mind the fact that as soon as the white smoke goes up, there will be no one in class — I have some teachers who have said they’ll be the first ones out the door!”

While many of the cardinals spent time at their titular churches — churches in Rome that are assigned to them — several of the U.S. cardinals, who were staying at NAC, also took the time to celebrate the daily house Masses.

“Living with many of the leaders of the church in the United States for the past week has made me proud to be striving to follow the example these courageous disciples of Jesus have set — to give Jesus all that I have and follow after him, wherever he leads me,” said Doyle.

And it didn’t hurt that it gave him the chance to talk baseball with fellow fan Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York — especially at the start of a new season, when anything is still possible.

“However, he has tried to turn me into a New York Yankees or St. Louis Cardinals fan every time I have seen him!” said Doyle.

While rooting for an American pope, Doyle said that whoever walks out onto that balcony will be playing for his team.

“It is certainly more important to me that the man who is elected remind me of Jesus, and that he be able to live, to love, to teach, and to serve the children of God just as Jesus did.”

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Jessica Langdon

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