MORAGA (KCBS) – A group of Bay Area college students got the chance of a lifetime, getting a firsthand look as the new pope was introduced to the world at the Vatican on Wednesday.

23 students from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga traveled to Rome with theology professor Tom Poundstone and the students were in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ introduction.

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“It’s more moving than any kind of rock concert would be. They all talked about how it’s something not only they would never forget, but far more emotionally stirring than they ever anticipated,” Poundstone said.

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As the cardinals fanned out across Rome, Poundstone said he told students which restaurants they would most likely frequent.

He said he does not expect church doctrine to change under the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.

“Where he’s different is that he has this tremendous sense of simplicity and a love for the poor,” said Poundstone.

He said Italians embraced the historic moment, describing Roman bands playing in the streets and the unique relationship between the city and the church.

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