VATICAN CITY (WYMT) - Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the man chosen to lead 1.2 billion Catholics as the new pope. A Perry County man was there in person as history unfolded Wednesday at the Vatican. We spoke to him earlier via Skype about what he experienced.
White smoke came billowing from the chimney of the Sistene Chapel, announcing to the world that the 115-member conclave had chosen a new pope. Among the thousands gathered in Saint Peter's Square to witness the announcement was Perry County native Baylen Campbell.
"I actually made it to Saint Peter's Square just in time to see the white smoke come out of the chimney after the vote," Campbell said.
Campbell is currently studying abroad at John Cabot University, an American school in the heart of Rome. He says he was standing shoulder to shoulder with people from across the globe, all waiting anxiously for news of the new pontiff.
"It was really really exciting, really lively. There was a huge crowd in the square, thousands upon thousands of people."
Campbell says Catholics he talked to were very pleased with the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, man Vatican watchers call a pope of firsts.
"He's from Latin America, he's Argentinian, and he's had a lot of experience working elsewhere in the world, and he has a lot of support also here in Italy," Campbell said.
He is also the first Jesuit pope and the first pope to take the name Francis.
Campbell says witnessing the historic event in person was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Campbell is a graduate of Hazard High School, and began his studies in Rome in 2010.