David Crabtree on Assignment

Raleigh couple: Seeing white smoke inspires faith

Posted March 12, 2013

— As millions worldwide wait for the selection of a new pope, thousands of visitors to the Vatican are watching the historic proceedings first-hand. It's an experience a Raleigh couple says they will never forget. 

In 2005, a planned vacation for Michael and Danielle Haley meant being in Rome for the last papal conclave. 

"You know, you read about tradition and things that have happened in the past – popes being elected and conclaves being done – but it's only in books," Danielle Haley said. "To actually be there was, it was just amazing."

They had just sat down to eat dinner in St. Peter's Square when they saw the white smoke.

"When you're in the middle of the square, it's so hard to see," Michael Haley said. "There was a delay in the bells ringing, and as soon as they started to ring, we sort of looked at each other and said, 'Let's get closer.'"

Danielle and Michael Haley Raleigh couple recalls seeing chapel's white smoke in 2005

Moving toward the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the Haleys were overwhelmed by the fellow Catholics they met from around the world.

"Italians, people from Brazil, Americans, Chileans, a lot of people from Poland," Michael Haley said. "Flags waving from just about every country you can think of."

"I think it was just a great moment," his wife added.

And then, the moment the world had been waiting for: newly chosen Pope Benedict XVI walked out to greet the crowds.

"When you're in that square and you look around, you see millions that all share a common faith and love of God," Danielle Haley said. "I think it can do nothing but inspire your faith."

"What it does for your faith was just amazing for me," Michael Haley said.


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About this Blog:

WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.