The Pope in Philly!

Dennis Fritsch ’17

His Holiness Pope Francis visited Philadelphia September 26 and 27, and six of our Jesuit students, Alfredo Flores, Owen Dailey, Brandon Holy, Colton Marks, John Borland, and Luke Dorman, were lucky enough to be chosen to go on a trip to see him there. They stayed at St. Joseph’s Prep with 43 other Jesuit high schools. The students saw the Pope both on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday they waited patiently for about six hours for the Pope to drive by them. Finally, at around 4:00 PM he made his way through the area where our Jesuit students were. “People were going crazy and shouting, and the Pope was smiling and waving at everyone,” Brandon Holy said, as he was there witnessing this historical event. Alfredo pointed out, “The Pope was about 25 feet away from us and seeing him from that close up was an experience I will never forget. I cannot explain what I felt seeing a person as holy as him, the holiest person to this day, being so close to me.” The Pope is amazing, and seeing him in person is something no could ever forget. Our students were only feet away from the Pope while he was speaking.

His Holiness began to speak about the importance of family, especially the children and the grandparents in our families. He said that we need to treat the people who are marginalized in society with respect and that we need to help them however we can. Some very touching words to which many of us can relate because we emphasize these values.

On Sunday the students saw him drive by and they were not too far from him, only a couple rows back in the crowd. While he was driving close to the students, a girl broke through the barriers and ran at the Pope. The Pope came up to the girl and kissed her. After the drive through, the students sat through a whole mass recited by the Pope himself. Everyone received the Eucharist which was blessed and consecrated by Pope Francis. Alfredo said, “It was the best mass I have ever been to, receiving the Eucharist which was blessed by the Pope himself. It was one life changing experience for me. I just could not believe all that was going on, it was breathtaking.”

Besides all of the amazing experiences our students went through with the Pope, they also had a lot of free time to enjoy Philadelphia. They had many meetings and free time to play at the Prep school and interacted in prayer and games with other Jesuit students. They also walked through the streets of Philadelphia, and saw many historical landmarks such as the Liberty Bell, as well as enjoyed a nice Philly Cheese Steak.