By Maggie Cornejo
At approximately 6 a.m. on the brisk morning of Wednesday, Sept. 23, a group of Paul VI students set out to experience what would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The group of twenty six students and four teachers had the chance to attend the welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis’s meeting with President Obama at the White House.
The students waited on the lawn for two hours until the Pope arrived at 9:15 a.m., but they all said the wait was worthwhile. Lainie Davison ‘17 recalled her experience.
“[The visit] was so amazing that I forgot time was even going by–one moment we were standing on the lawn in the dark, the next we were walking through DC heading back to PVI.”
Fellow Class of 2017 attendee, Stephen Artner, said a memorable moment for him occurred when Pope Francis’s speech concluded with the Holy Father announcing, “God bless America.”
The Pope affected countless people when he made his visit to the U.S, including the homeless. Instead of dining with D.C. politicians, he chose to reach out to those in need.
The Pope’s outreach sets an admirable example of a life of humility. He even chose to ride in a Fiat as compared to a limousine. One of several memorable statements the Holy Father shared was “We know by faith that the Creator does not abandon us; He never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.”
The Pope truly dedicates his life to loving all; he does not discriminate against any. The Pope encouraged attendees to set us out on a mission at the conclusion of his speech, when he said, “I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.”
In short, the Pope called upon the Paul VI Catholic High School community, and all Americans, to reach out to those in need as part of our mission and to spread God’s message to those that have not heard it. It truly is a blessing that Paul VI experienced this rare visit of the Pope to the United States in their lifetime, and it will not be forgotten.
Disclaimer: Panther Press Editor Maggie Cornejo was one of the students who attended Pope Francis’s speech and meeting at the White House.