Thursday, October 1, 2015

Popeapalooza: Fordham Edition

Flat Francis & Fordham bracelet giveaways
Fordham is always bustling with opportunities for students to get involved and immerse themselves in the school community.  The past few weeks have been no exception.  Leading up to Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, there was much planning and excitement around campus.  On Sunday, September 20th, we had a Mass of Anticipation, centered on his arrival in New York.  There was a social on the University Church plaza afterwards, where Campus Ministry distributed ice cream and a variety of Pope-related handouts.  They gave out “Flat Francis” cutouts, just like the Flat Stanley project many students do in elementary school.  This was a fun idea encouraging students to take pictures and share their experiences on social media.  Students also received Fordham bracelets coining the phrase “Faith, Pope & Love.”

The exciting news
There was a packed schedule of events planned to help us experience Pope Francis’s visit to the fullest.  Programs included live streaming of his Address to Congress and to the United Nations, as well as prayer and reflection sessions.  There was also a Pope Francis House Build with Habitat for Humanity in Yonkers, NY.  As a Jesuit university, Fordham was allotted several tickets for students to see the Pope in person.  They held a lottery for his Mass at Madison Square Garden, and for his procession down 5th Avenue prior to the Mass.  The Office of University Mission and Ministry also sent out an email informing us that New York City was running a sponsored program to give away tickets for the Central Park Papal Procession.  Fortunately I won the raffle, along with many other Fordham students!

My view of Pope Francis
On Friday, September 25th, we headed down to the city on the Ram Van, Fordham’s intercampus shuttle service.  Our assigned entrance to Central Park was the “Green Zone,” which was conveniently right down the block from Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.  We got in line among the thousands of other ticket-holders, surrounded by flags of Vatican City flying everywhere.  Eventually we got through security and entered the park, anticipation building with every minute.  Just standing in this massive crowd of people, you could sense the overwhelming excitement for what was to come.  The procession began around 5pm, and the next thing I knew Pope Francis was riding in the popemobile right before my eyes.  It was such an incredible and moving experience, and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity.

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