GENESEE, Colo. (CBS4) – When the white smoke went up in Rome signaling a new pope had been chosen on Wednesday, an alert went out from Colorado.
A Catholic organization based in Genesee created PopeAlarm.com. CBS4’s Kathy Walsh was with them when they spread the word to more than 100,000 in minutes.
The young Catholics see the election of the pope as one of the most exciting events in the history of the church, and they wanted everyone to be able to experience it live. So they devised a way to send an instant alert.
There was cautious excitement – and then confirmation. It was time to send out the pope alarm. Within two minutes their mission was accomplished and PopeAlarm.com was a success.
Over the last five days the young Catholics have been “popeparazzi” — glued to the Vatican video and scanning for smoke signals. They work for FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, based in Genesee.
Last week, Web Director Kevin Cotter came up with the idea of PopeAlarm.com, a service that would send a text or email when white smoke went up from the Sistine Chapel.
“We thought maybe 10,000 or 20,000 people would sign up,” Cotter said. “Really the results have been overwhelming.”
It was simple to sign up and more than 130,000 registered.
The organization FOCUS is all about evangelization. Missionaries work on college campuses to share the Catholic faith.
To connect with more than 130,000 people was amazing for the group. They got to spread the joy of electing a new pope and helped put FOCUS in the spotlight as well.