Paula Graziani and her husband, Giovanni, who own Caffe Graziani, were in Rome on Wednesday, leading a tour of their Salem restaurant customers, when the new pope was elected.
OK, Paula, take it from here.
“Well, I told you electing the pope was high on our agenda and we did it,” she wrote in an email that arrived around 2 a.m. yesterday morning. “Giovanni and I, with several of our group, found ourselves in Piazza San Pietro (Wednesday) afternoon at about 4:45 p.m.
“Rumor had it that there would be a vote at 5 p.m. So we found a strategic spot in the rain from which we could observe the famous chimney amidst all the umbrellas. Well, 5 p.m. turned to 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and then the new rumor was anytime between 5-7 p.m.
“As the rain came and went, many of our group grew discouraged and quit. I wasn’t going anywhere. Myself and three others of our North Shore group remained amidst the hundreds of thousands who now filled the piazza.
“When that white smoke emerged, the crowd burst out in tears, songs, prayer and chants of ‘Viva il Papa!’ It was well worth the wait. Then to pray with Pope Francis and receive his first blessing made a day we will never forget ...”
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.