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7th Grader Who Met the Pope Has A Message For Her Friends At School


US President Barack Obama escorts Pope Francis as he is being greeted by children upon his arrival on September 22, 2015 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 09/23/15

Sacred Heart school student, Jocelyn Aquino, calls the experience "life-changing"

It’s not every day you get to meet the pope. Especially when you’re a 7th grader.

When the Holy Father touched down on U.S. soil yesterday, four children greeted him, the first of whom was Jocelyn Aquino who attends Sacred Heart Catholic School in Washington, D.C. She spoke to Aleteia’s Zoe Romanowsky about what it was like to meet the leader of the Catholic Church.

So, this is the question everyone is asking you: What was it like to meet Pope Francis?

It was such a great opportunity; such a blessing. It was both scary and exciting. It’s really hard to put into words.

What did you say to him? And did he say anything back to you?

I said, ‘Welcome to the United States,’ in Spanish. And he said, ‘Thank you very much,’ in Spanish.

How did you get this invitation?

My mom had a ticket for me to go see the pope and she gave it away to a kid with special needs. Then, the principal of my school ended up choosing me, when she had the chance to choose one person from our school to meet the pope.

When you found out she selected you, how did you respond?

I didn’t have any words… all kinds of emotions were floating around my head. It was a life-changing moment.

What do you think you’ll remember most about today? 

That the pope talked to me in Spanish. That I also met the President and First Lady and the Vice-President and his wife.

What has been your family’s reaction to this opportunity? 

They never thought anything like this would happen. It’s been amazing for them. When my mom saw it happening, she started crying. Very exciting.

What are you going to tell your friends about the experience when you go back to school?

I’m going to say this was a very blessed moment — and to always give up something and you will get something even better in return.

Zoe Romanowsky is Lifestyle Editor and Video Content Producer for Aleteia

Pope Francis USA
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