USD grad travels to Rome for a front seat to history - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

USD grad travels to Rome for a front seat to history

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This is a video screen image of USD graduate Craig Smith who spoke with News 8 via Skype. This is a video screen image of USD graduate Craig Smith who spoke with News 8 via Skype.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A USD grad witnessed history in Vatican City. Craig smith was on the scene Wednesday for the big announcement. He said he was shaking and nervous - all because he was overcome by the moment.

"This election is the curveball of all curveballs!"

University of San Diego graduate Craig Smith was one of more than 100,000 who crammed into St. Peter's Square in Rome Wednesday present to witness the surprising announcement of Pope Francis.

"It was excitement. It was liberation. It was joy," said Smith.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is now the Catholic Church's new spiritual leader, the first-ever pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis.

"As soon as he stepped out, he was a trailblazer," Smith added.

A trailblazer, who Father Joe Carroll had been rooting for, although not expecting to be chosen:

"My dark horse! That's great, oh thank you, thank you!"

The pope's new name is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi revered in the Catholic faith for his work with the poor - an area in which Cardinal Bergoglio had distinguished himself.

It's a historic choice, which Smith experienced firsthand and was made all the more significant by sharing the moment with thousands of others.

Smith also said he wanted to be a part of Catholic history and made this trip to Rome as a pilgrimage to witness the election of the pope firsthand.

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