On Monday morning, I was woken from my slumber by a call from Rome. I confusedly stared at my caller ID while my phone jingled and jangled. “Rome!”, it said. As my mind slowly unclouded on the 3rd or 4th ring, I realized that my best friend, Killian, was calling me from Rome, and immediately flipped open my phone, attempting to make my “Hello” sound less than groggy and tired. Killian and many of my closest friends are studying on the University of Dallas’ Rome campus this semester, and I hastily programmed the campus telephone number into my phone as “Rome!” just last week.
Killian was calling to tell me the latest news, news which is by now old: that Pope Benedict is retiring. Due to the early hour, I refused to take him seriously the first few times he told me the news. “Ha ha, very funny, Killian. You’re not fooling me, even if I did just wake up,” I replied to his assertions. Soon, though, I realized that he was not fooling around. The gravity of the situation hit me, and I sat up in bed.
“It hasn’t been done in 800 or so years!” Killian exclaimed. It struck me that this truly is a momentous event in church history and it is amazing that all of us are alive to witness it, especially all of my friends who will be there to watch and wait in the courtyard outside of the Vatican at the end of this month, searching the sky for traces of white smoke. The future is uncertain, but the church is not. It will always be here. And, from Killian’s phone call, I was reminded of those I miss in Rome, They may not be physically be near me, but I know they are with me in spirit, and I with them. Apparently, I can’t get away from them making me miss out on sleep, even a continent away!