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Hello, Pope Francis

Hello, Pope Francis

Jesuit High School’s ‘Papal Pilgrims,’ the six students who traveled to Philadelphia and got up close with Pope Francis during his historic visit to the United States last month, told the amazing story of their four-day ‘2Philly4Francis’ pilgrimage at Convocation on Wednesday (Oct. 7).

Sean Lanoue ’16 spoke about the transformational experience of Mass with more than two million people and the Pope. Alex Barcenas ’16 explained the impact of the World Meeting of Families and the meaning of the ‘Culture of Encounter’ that Pope Francis has emphasized. Jett Angel ’16 shared his doubts about his worthiness to be on the pilgrimage, a powerful vision he experienced while praying on his final night in Philadelphia, and ultimately his spiritual growth.

Brett Gajewski ’16 talked about the joy and comfort he felt in the sacrament of reconciliation during adoration with students from 43 other Jesuit high schools. J.J. Niekro ’16 described what it was like seeing the Holy Father from 10 feet away as Pope Francis paraded past the Jesuit contingent, and the similarities shared by all 350 Jesuit students who were there from around the country. Michael Lee ’16 (who captured the homepage image of Pope Francis) said the Pope’s emphasis on God’s love for all people, and how love can overcome difficulties - but hatred and anger cannot - resonated deeply with him.

Moderated by Kevin O’Donnell, P ’18 of WTVT-FOX 13, the discussion in St. Anthony’s Chapel before the Jesuit student body put a fitting cap on what was a most memorable and meaningful experience. Along with chaperones Michael Miller ’09, Jesuit’s assistant director of campus ministry, and school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J., they arrived Sept. 24 and stayed four nights at St. Joseph’s Prep, a Jesuit school in Philadelphia.  

Pope Francis’ U.S. visit dominated the national news and elicited record activity on social media. The Jesuit High School contingent provided numerous interviews to multiple local media outlets before, during, and after the trip, notably WTSP-CBS Ch. 10, WFLA-NBC Ch. 8, and WTVT-FOX 13. An extended segment about Wednesday’s Convocation and Jesuit’s ‘Papal Pilgrims’ is expected to air on WTVT-FOX 13 this weekend.

Follow @TigerPilgrims on Twitter ( to see the timeline of events as tweeted during the pilgrimage.  

Please see a slideshow below left of photos taken by Miller and Lee during the pilgrimage (along with a few photos of Wednesday’s Convocation), and a video below right of Pope Francis parading past the Jesuit pilgrims.



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