Pontiff-Crazy at CUA
From reporter Susan Kinzie:
No class today at Catholic University: All the more time to blog about the Pope.
"The Pope at CUA," launched by staff at the student newspaper the Tower, has carried round-the-clock updates about the historic visit to the U.S. and the way their campus is going pontiff crazy.
Chase McAlpine, a junior who thought of the blog and stayed up all that night getting it going, said they're hoping to catch the excitement on campus and document the historic visit from a student perspective.
That means updates from the school's "Rock the Pope" events, a papal planning guide (with headings such as, "Your Ride," to explain parking and "Your Belly" to explain dining options at Catholic this week) and lots of photos of students lying on the floor drawing posters like, "CUA Loves Our Papa!" and "We love our German Shepherd!"
Students have stayed up for late-night candlelight rosaries, spelled out the letters to pope cheers with their arms, pulled on baseball jerseys that say "Benedict" and the number 16, and crowded into the lawn by the Basilica to catch a glimpse of him arriving.
"People have been excited for the past month," said McAlpine, who's not Catholic but was amazed to be so close to such an important figure when the Pope arrived yesterday. At one point he was just a few yards away, keeping his thumb on the shutter of his camera trying to take as many photos as possible for the blog. "Afterwards, going through the pictures, I was thinking to myself, 'I can't believe I was that close to him - he's hanging out with the President, and I'm right there.'"
Ryan Reilly, another editor at the paper, said he's most looking forward to "his arrival to the Pryz (the Pryzbyla Center, where the Pope will address Catholic educators tomorrow) - it's going to be crazy." Reilly is Catholic, so the visit is important to him on a religious level, he said, but he's also caught up in the sense of excitement on campus. "I'm sure when he arrives I sort of will get that butterflies in my stomach type of thing." All the TV trucks are just adding to it: "My Google alerts are going crazy!"
They've already posted photos of his arrival in Washington and the White House ceremony, and will be adding more updates and photos from students' cell phones, video and audio interviews all day and night, Reilly said. "I don't plan on sleeping for the next three days - we should be going full steam ahead."
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