Students at Franciscan University of Steubenville recently offered their well wishes and spiritual gifts on a giant birthday card for Pope Francis, the university told Catholic Education Daily.
Franciscan students offered gifts like “I prayed an Our Father for you” and “I offered Holy Communion for you” and wrote birthday wishes for the Holy Father on the card. Sarah Reznicek, a senior theology, catechetics and Spanish major at the school from Chicago, IL, shared:
It was a very personal experience, I felt a special connection between the Holy Father and myself. Even though he is an ocean away, through prayer and through the Church we have this intimate relationship with him.
The card was created by Nelson Fine Arts and Gifts, the lifestyle division and parent company of Catholic to the Max. Owner Mark Nelson, who studied at Franciscan, told Catholic Education Daily that this type of gift is especially appropriate for Pope Francis, who asked for prayers at the beginning of his pontificate.
The three paneled card features an image of Mary, Undoer of Knots, which is said to be Pope Francis’ favorite Marian devotion, a prayer for the Holy Father, and a birthday greeting. Signed by over 10,000 Catholic youth, with digital signatures still being received, it should arrive just in time for Pope Francis’ 77th birthday on December 17, 2013.
“It’s a tangible way [for students] to show [their] love of the Holy Father from a distance,” Nelson explained.
The love of the Holy Father was evident at the Steubenville campus where a life-size cardboard cutout of Pope Francis was displayed during the card signing. Students were taking “selfies” with the Pope, according to Nelson.
Franciscan University senior history major, John Lautz, from High Point, N.C., was glad that he was able to participate. He told Catholic Education Daily:
I think [Pope Francis is] an incredible man who has already done much to influence the Catholic Church and myself. To be able to write a message that he might even glance at is very important to me.
Franciscan University of Steubenville is recommended in The Newman Guide for strong Catholic identity.
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