MENTOR, Ohio - "In my lifetime, the only time there has been a conclave to elect a new pope is when the previous pope passed away, so it was very new to me, to everybody here," said President of Lake Catholic High School Sal Miroglotta.
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation has swept through the Catholic community, leaving adults and children asking many questions. To handle the confusion, officials at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor are turning this into a teachable moment for students.
"Tomorrow we're going to make sure all of our theology classes are going to be grouped in the chapel. And we're going to present each period kind of the where we've been, what's happened, where we're going to go in the future," said Executive Vice Principal Robert Kumazec. He said the school's theology department is also on standby to answer questions.
Vice President of Mission and Ministry Michelle Bernot said the announcement was unprecedented and surprising for both students and faculty.
"This is the first pope to abdicate his position in the last 700 years. So this will have with it new processes with it. But basic premise the same," Bernot said.
School officials are concerned about speculation and misinformation that could be spawned by social media. They said they're making sure their students have the facts.
"The last time that this happened that a new pope was elected all of our students were very little kids," Miroglotta said. "So this will be the first time, sort of as adults, they'll get to witness this."
"It is a very exciting thing to watch the crowds in the square outside of the Basilica. So our students are going to get a great front-row seat into something very historical and something very important to their faith."