When in Rome: 3 Killdeer students attend pontiff election, mass

They’re in their twenties yet already have accomplished something few people do in a lifetime – watching a new pontiff get elected and give mass from the front row of St. Peter’s Square.

Three Killdeer siblings watched as Pope Francis became the next pontiff while studying abroad in Rome. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Three Killdeer siblings watched as Pope Francis became the next pontiff while studying abroad in Rome. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By BRYCE MARTIN

Herald Editor

Posted March 22, 2013

They’re in their twenties yet already have accomplished something few people do in a lifetime – watching a new pontiff get elected and give mass from the front row of St. Peter’s Square.

For Tony, 20, Marie, 21, and Shane Dukart, 19, seeing the election and installation of the new Pope Francis meant a great deal and to their faith as each is devout Catholic. The siblings, from Killdeer, currently are studying abroad for a semester through the University of Mary in Bismarck.

“To see the leader of our church elected is sort of (a) big deal to us,” Tony Dukart told the Herald on Tuesday after attending the first papal mass.

With more than 100,000 people recorded as gathering in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday for the first mass by Pope Francis after his election, the Dukarts had a seemingly tough task in front of them in trying to find a good vantage point.

“It was crazy right away because everyone wanted a good spot,” Dukart said.

Vatican Police blocked off the massive plaza located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, he said.

“They opened the gates and everyone just ran towards a good spot,” he said. “Once the people were in the square, however, they were very reverent because they knew the point of the event was the mass.”

Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope March 13 once the College of Cardinals agreed in a two-day long election process, locked within the walls of the Sistine Chapel. He chose the name Francis when elected and stunned the world, not just those of the Catholic faith, with the differences he represented in a pontiff.

“We really did not have choices for a pope nor knew much about him,” Dukart said.

Pope Francis is a pope of firsts. He is the first pope to be a Jesuit, the first pope to come from the Americas, and the first pope to come from the Southern Hemisphere.

In a time when the Catholic Church is most under scrutiny, Dukart said seeing Pope Francis meet the scrutiny with the love of Christ would be ideal and wishes for him to be able to relate to the people about the love of Christ by example.

While the three didn’t tour Vatican City, it was their first time overseas, with the exception of Marie who previously had traveled to France. Their deep religion, however, was enough to bring them to watch the first papal mass.

When they were younger, the three siblings were taught about the redemptive love of God, brought up in a Catholic household.

“Since we know a part of his love, we want to try to live His will as best we can,” Dukart said. “The religion that we believe only helps us in achieving that.”

While the Dukarts, and the world, continue to learn what the new pope is all about, Dukart said his greatest hope for the pope is to show that each person is made in the image of God and is made for greatness.

“Also to show how God loves us,” he said.

Contact Bryce Martin at bmartin@countrymedia.net.


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