Coming to America

Pope Francis in Philadelphia. Photo by Riley O'Neill.
Pope Francis in Philadelphia.
Photo by Riley O’Neill.

by Mike Cipolla

When the pope does something, people pay attention. Pope Francis is arguably the most famous person in the world and his visit to the United States was one of the biggest events of the year. The Pope visited from September 22-27, 2015. President Obama greeted him off his plane, nicknamed “Shepherd 1” as a play on the president’s “Air Force 1.” The pope did not make the trip alone, his papal entourage consists of about 30 people.

Many Catholics from around the country flocked to see the pope, and the Philadelphia visit was witnessed first hand by students, staff and parents of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School. Students of all grade levels went to Philadelphia to witness the event.

Sophomore Matt Pugsley was one of the students that took advantage of this opportunity.

“I wanted to visit the pope because he is our Holy Father and it would be a once in a lifetime experience to see him in real life and to go to a mass done by him,” said Mr. Pugsley.

Being in the presence of the pope was one of the highlights of young Mr. Pugsley’s life so far, and it is definitely something he would love to experience again.

“I was moved by simply thinking about the fact that I was in the presence of the Holy Father and received Holy Communion consecrated by him,”  said Mr. Pugsley.

On his visit Pope Francis went to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. While in Washington he stayed at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States which is also known as the “Vatican Embassy.” He also did mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, one of the most famous churches in the nation.

Pope Francis concluded his visit with a trip to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. This is one of the more interesting aspects of the papal visit because he spoke to and shook hands with many prisoners. According to The Atlantic magazine online, while there the pope said, “All of us need our feet washed,” referring to Jesus washing the feet of the poor in the Bible. Pope Francis wants the prisoners to accept God and His love even though they have made mistakes in their life.    

For the Bishop Sullivan students visiting the pope was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was great that the school gave them that opportunity.

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