Being excused from class is something students already appreciate. But to be excused from class by Pope Francis … that’s quite a special treat!
At 19, Wyatt Olivas is the youngest participant in the Synod, which concluded this year’s session in Rome on Saturday, October 28. By Tuesday, he was expected to be back in classes at the University of Wyoming. But thanks to Pope Francis, who signed a letter justifying his absence from classes, the young man is enjoying a well-deserved rest.
After four weeks of intense work in Rome and a 15-hour flight back home on Monday October 30, Olivas was certainly going to be low on energy and enthusiasm. So, he half-jokingly decided to go for a long shot. On October 25, he presented Pope Francis with a letter he had written to justify his absence from class:
To whom it may concern,
Wyatt A. Olivas has been an integral part of the Synod on Synodality, working diligently to contribute to this significant event in the Church. His efforts have been greatly appreciated by the Church community, and we are grateful for his dedication and hard work. As a result of his tireless efforts, we believe Wyatt deserves a break from his classes to recharge and rejuvenate.
During his time working on the Synod, Wyatt has been a vital member of our community, displaying a deep commitment to the Church and its values. We recognize the importance of his contributions and would like to extend our gratitude by allowing him some time off from his academic responsibilities.
Wyatt has pinky promised to return to his classes and complete his work, and we trust that he will keep his word. We are confident that, after this much-needed break, he will return to his studies with renewed energy and focus. Therefore, we kindly request that he be excused from his classes for a short period.
A papal excuse for absence
“These four weeks of the Synod were exhausting, and I had planned to get back to class very quickly, but I figured I’d need a few days’ rest before resuming,” he explained to Catholic News Service. “I thanked him for inviting me and inviting young people.” And then he told the Pope: “I have some classes I have to get to and I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Do you want to sign this letter?”
“He’s reading it and he just starts laughing,” Olivas told CNS. “So he starts writing, in little letters he writes ‘Francis.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, I got it, I’m going to be excused,’” he says with a smile.
“It was just a beautiful and awesome moment, honestly.”