The principal of John Paul II Catholic High School in Greenville, N.C., described the inaugural graduating class’s recent pilgrimage to Rome—organized on the students’ own initiative—as an experience that “deepened their faith,” according to Catholic News Agency.
The 16 students who comprised the graduating class visited many sites in Rome, including the Sistine Chapel, but student Haylee McArthur reportedly said that seeing Pope Francis was the highlight of the trip.
The group was present in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ general audience on June 11.
“We were near the barriers, so we saw him when he rode by,” reportedly said McArthur. “It was so amazing, I did not think we would get to see him so close. I thought we were just going to have to wait for hours and see him from a distance, but we got within like 10 feet of him! It was so cool.”
Principal John Donahue reportedly said of the trip, “It's absolutely thrilling and I think it (was) really kind of inspired by John Paul II; to come to Rome, to be educated in the faith, and to go out and engage the world, challenge the world.”
He reportedly expressed his hope that the students’ trip will be “a foundation for them moving forward.”
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