Students Study Conclave Ceremonies

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DUNMORE -- A conclave to choose a new pope is certainly something we don't see too often; this is only the fifth in the last 50 years.

For Catholic schools in our area, history in the making makes for a perfect lesson for students.

We were at Holy Cross High School in Lackawanna County Tuesday morning as the conclave began.

"There are three who take the votes, three who check the votes and three who, double check the votes.  But if you take notice, this is what's happening."

Mrs. Yaklic's theology class at Holy Cross High School in Dunmore took students to Rome with live streaming video as the conclave to pick a pope began.

These freshmen were only 6 or 7 years old the last time cardinals chose a pope, now they're learning church history while living it at school.

"It's been going on thousands of years and now it's finally come to a point where it's our turn to see the history in the church," said freshman Josh Megliola.

"I think it's so interesting because we're witnessing history and we can tell our children and grandchildren about this and actually have an eyewitness view of this," said freshman Zoe Haggerty.

The Diocese of Scranton sent out a curriculum to Catholic schools to take advantage of this historic time to teach students about the pope and the process to select him.

"It's a theology class.  Science and those things change and there's news all the time.  When it comes to the Church, we are stable for 2000 years. Now we have something we have to really put our teeth into. It's exciting," said teacher Kathy Yaklic.

Not only are there lesson plans, students at Holy Cross each adopted a cardinal to learn about those choosing the pope and about the man who could become pope himself.

"Mine is from Spain and I've been praying for him. And I got my parents to adopt a cardinal and my friend and I've been following it in the newspaper and on the news. I'm very interested," Zoe added.

Of course this centuries-old tradition is now happening in the modern world of social media, so Mrs. Yaklic has her students following it all on Facebook and Twitter.

"They know the Spirit is working through them and they are really a part of what is happening in Rome.  The world is small now and it really is important to them."

Teachers and students are also signed up for alerts to their computers and phones to let them know immediately when there is white smoke and when there's a new pope.

Newswatch 16 and ABC news will break into coverage whenever that happens.