Juniors Austin Weyant, Jacob Monson and Evan Beacom took advantage of Rome’s most abundant snowfall in 26 years by constructing a snowman made to look like the pope in St. Peter’s Square.
This one-of-a-kind creation received lots of attention. The Catholic News Service featured Beacom and the snowman on its Facebook page with a photo and short caption. However, the three students said they did not make the snowman to get personal recognition.
“Mostly, we had intended to build it, leave it and congratulate ourselves,” Monson said. “ But we actually had difficulty finishing it because people wanted pictures of our project.”
“A crowd quickly gathered and a lot of people stopped to talk to us and take pictures of ‘His Snowliness’ from all over the world,” Beacom said.
Sophomore Katie Erickson, who also is studying abroad with the three, said she thought she knew why they did it.
“I guess they decided to make it just for fun,” Erickson said. “To spread a little Minnesota cheer in Rome, where such small amounts of snow can be so distressing, and to show the Romans we know what to do with snow.”
Monson came up with the idea to make the “Popeman.”
“I was at St. Peter’s when I saw another attempt at a snowman,” Monson said. “ I thought, ‘Hey, it would be so great to build a snowman in St. Peter’s.’ I mean, how unique of an experience is that?
“Unfortunately… the snow had basically melted and our dream of the St. Peter’s snowman seemed to evade us. But it did snow again, by Divine Intervention, and so we proceeded to build our snowpope.”
Monson said some spectators even wanted to help the three build their creation.
“One man started offering his gloves, hat and scarf. There was something quite wonderful in these people wanting to contribute to our snowman, though we had never known each other,” Monson said.
Beacom said for the creators, this was more than just an arts and crafts project.
“I hope that at least some of them were inspired to a greater love of Christ’s holy and apostolic Church,” Beacom said. “I will forever tell people that I have sculpted on the same soil as Bernini and Michelangelo.”
For Monson, he said it was a moment to remember for the rest of his life.
“It was quite wonderful to impact other human beings in that way,” Monson said. “As I was running around looking for chunks of snow, I had to stop and pause and remind myself where I was.”
Caroline Rode can be reached at email@example.com.