Travel guides? Check. Passport? Check. Chicago baseball cap? Check.
So went the preparations of a Chicago religion reporter on her way back to Rome for a papal transition. After spending last week searching for Chicagoans also traveling to the Eternal City, columnist and cubicle neighbor Mary Schmich offered useful advice: Don a Cubs cap in Rome and stroll St. Peter Square. As if by magic, Chicagoans will introduce themselves.
Like Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, who voted for Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, this will be my second papal conclave.
I, too, traveled to Rome in 2005 to help cover the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the inauguration of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. I never guessed I’d return to reprise the role under still-daunting religious stakes eight years later.
Cardinal George has said this time he will ask other cardinals more pointed questions about the papabili, or papal contenders. I also learned some valuable lessons the first time around: I'll take time to breathe and discover what makes Rome the Eternal City, the City of Fountains, the City on Seven Hills.
After all, one of my goals for the Tribune is to bring you here with me. Join the religions adventure on Twitter, @TribSeeker, and on chicagotribune.com, where I’ll appear regularly via video and Skype.
Thank you for the packing advice, Mary. That said, I brought a Sox cap instead.
Join Trib Nation on Facebook for more of the how and why of Tribune journalism.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times