Students Hear First-hand from Priest at Conclave that Elected Pope Benedict XVI

February 21, 2008

White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney. Next, the bells on St. Peter’s Basilica tolled. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Local pastor, Monsignor K. Bartholomew Smith, was there – not just in the crowd, but on the balcony right behind the Pope. Then-Father Smith will tell the middle school students of St. Bernadette School his story of being part of the April 2005 conclave:

Monday, February 25, 2008
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
St. Bernadette Church’s Monsignor Stricker Room
(Drive around circle and take driveway back behind rectory)
72 University Boulevard East, Silver Spring, MD 20901

Msgr. Smith, current pastor of St. Bernadette Church, was serving at the time as priest-secretary to Cardinal William Baum, former archbishop of Washington and Vatican official, giving Smith unique access to the events that transpired in April 2005 at the Vatican.

He was one of a handful of non-cardinals to stay at Domus Santa Marta, the cardinals’ residence during the conclave. He also was one of the last non-cardinals to be present in the Sistine Chapel before voting began to elect the new pope. He remained with a few others in the conclave but just outside the chapel during the votes.

Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Washington, DC on April 15, 2008 for his first papal visit to the United States. While in Washington, he will visit the White House, celebrate Mass for more than 45,000 people at Nationals Park baseball stadium, address Catholic educators and hold meetings with the United States bishops and with inter-religious leaders. While in the United States, he will celebrate his 81st birthday (April 16) and the third anniversary of his election to the papacy (April 19).

Information about Pope Benedict’s trip to Washington, including his itinerary, is posted online at Additional information is available at

Kathy Dempsey
Office of Communications
[email protected]