The Pope Francis experience

The Pope Francis experience

Marin Carter, Staff Writer

For the second time since being elected, Pope Francis has visited North America– and NDP has had quite a notable history in encountering him.

His Mexico tour Feb. 12-17 ended at the Texan-Mexican border in Ciudad Juarez.

Last fall, social studies teacher David Jensen and junior Maddie Prowda had the opportunity to see him during his United States tour. Even more recently during winter break, four saints including myself had the chance to sing for the Holy Father at the Vatican for Pueri Cantores 2016.

From Left, Maslowski, Barrett, Shen and myself are posing in St. John Lateran wearing our red robes.

Junior Sam Barrett and sophomores Alexandria Maslowski and Maria Shen along with myself spent a week in Rome as members of the teen schola choir at St. Bernard of Clairvaux. We sang for Pope Francis at a Christmas Concert and attended the New Year’s Day Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

To me, just being in the same room as him was a spiritual experience unlike any other. I felt holier seeing him walk by and especially after receiving communion blessed by him. A sensation of peace washed over me as I took the Eucharist.

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A portion of the St. Bernard choir standing in front of St. Peter’s Basilica

The St. Bernard’s group joined choirs from around the world to serenade the Pope and participate in the New Year’s Day mass for the 40th International Congress of Pueri Cantores. The American Federation Pueri Cantores describes it as, “the international…and official choral organization for the Catholic Church.

In regards to the music, Shen said “The sound of all the choirs singing bounced off the walls and echoed throughout the basilica. It sounded heavenly.”

Barrett said, “The New Year’s Day mass was really cool in that it was in multiple different languages so that everyone could understand at least one aspect of the mass.”

Maslowski added, “It was very special to be in the presence of Pope Francis. I was at the end of the aisle singing at mass so I got very close to him.” A couple kids in the choir even got to shake his hand during the concert.

The holiness does not end with the Pope. The Teen Schola Choir received a private tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel after hours.

Barrett said, “The Sistine Chapel was awesome because not only did we get to spend 45 minutes in there but we got to take pictures.” The Chapel is breathtaking and beautiful with all the details and symbolism in the art.

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Sam and I posing in the Sistine Chapel

Mexico as well as the Texan-Mexican border are lucky to be receiving Pope Francis’ visit. He will touch the lives of many, just as he has touched the lives of several NDP Saints already.

The Holy Father’s popularity comes from his humble nature. He is a down to earth man with much wisdom to share with the world. In his message for Lent this year, he said to give up indifference towards others and selfishness. He said to be merciful.

On Pope Francis, Barrett said, “I could actually feel his holiness when he entered the room, and the way people reacted to him really showed how instrumental he is to spreading the faith.

“So many people admire him, but so many of those people will never have the chance to see him, and I feel honored and blessed to have gotten the opportunity to not only be in his presence but sing for him,” she finished.

Pope Francis during the Mass on New Years Day in the Basilica.

Pope Francis is beloved by the Catholic Church as a loving and giving role model. The Vatican does not say where he will be traveling later this year, but he will impact the world greatly wherever he may go.