A group of students from Villanova High School is hoping its March break trip to Europe comes with an added bonus.

The students plan to be Rome a week from Friday and that could coincide with the election of a new pope.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime ever experience that they, as Catholic kids, could be there when the pope gets chosen," said history teacher Lisa Voegli, who is organizing the trip.

The students leave Friday and should be in Rome next weekend. The timing of the conclave has not yet been announced by cardinals electing a new pope, but the students hope to be in St. Peter's Square when the successor to Pope Benedict XVI is announced.

Students are paying more than $3,000 dollars for the trip.

The thought of being there when a new pope is named has one of the student travellers, Adam Libonati, excited.

"He is the leader of our organized faith, right? We believe that what he says has been directed by the Holy Spirit, so what he says really goes," Libonati said. "It's an important role. It's kind of like the president of the United States. It's the same kind of idea."

If the new pope is to be in place for Easter, which the Vatican has said it would like, next weekend would be the last chance to make the big announcement.