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Friday, February 15, 2013

A "WOW! Moment

I nearly fell out of our live truck when I heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI was resigning.

Let me take you back for a moment...  A photographer and I were along Route 115  in Bear Creek Monday morning, looking at icy roads.  Tom and Mindi ad libbed the breaking news that Benedict was stepping down for health reasons.

No one saw this coming.  Even people who cover the Vatican were stunned.  Newswatch 16 was in a commercial break, so I started twisting the truck's radio.  You know what the local news scene is like.  I finally found a station on the ball, WCBS 880 in New York City.  Yes.  It was happening.  The pope quit!

My next move was to call the desk to say "Get me off the icy road story!"  Many Roman Catholic churches here in our area have morning services.  If I waited, the masses would have been over, and the window to parishioner reaction would have been closed until noon.  I had to get moving fast.  The assignment desk and the noon producer agreed.  We dropped the live truck's ice covered mast, which wasn't easy, and headed to Wilkes-Barre.

Our destination was St. Nicholas' Church on South Washington Street, one of the most spectacular churches in the city.  We spoke with a few of the faithful and the assistant pastor before the 8 AM mass.  St. Nicholas was founded by German immigrants 150 years ago.  Benedict is German.  We have our hook, and it was a good piece.

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm fascinated by this story.  There's the setting-- the beauty of Vatican City, the secrecy and the mystery of inner church workings, the history.  This hasn't happened in six hundred years.  I'll be glued to the TV and the internet as the papal abdication/selection process progresses.