New popes are not elected very often, so it was either a stroke of luck or divine intervention that landed Cody Butcher of Wichita--a devout Catholic--in Rome at the very time the new pope was announced.
"I saw smoke, white smoke, and everybody started freaking out," Butcher says. "They were running up as close as they could."
Butcher was among the massive crowd of people in St. Peter's Square. He's a college student who had scheduled his spring break trip months ago. Butcher never imagined the selection of a new pope would be happening during his visit.
"There was a lot of cheering, a lot of joy," Butcher adds.
Butcher had just gotten back to his hotel room when he sat down at his computer to talk with us on Skype.
"It was just surreal," Butcher says. "I have grown up Catholic, so being there was just amazing. I got to see the pope be chosen and see the holy smoke. It's just amazing!"
Butcher says he called his mom back in Wichita as he stood in St. Peter's square while all this was happening. He wanted to share the moment with her--most likely a once-in-a-lifetime moment.