Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Pope's Homework

Raise your hand if Pope Francis made you cry sometime in the last week.

(hand raised over here, multiple times.)

The Pope's historic visit to the US was a treasure to experience, even if I was 1000 miles away.  He was here, in our country, with our people.  He was praying with us, celebrating the Sacraments with us, and speaking truth to us.  He hugged our people, kissed our babies, and took selfies with our teenagers.  He canonized, he taught, he challenged.  He showed us compassion, humility, strength, and joy.  I can't get enough of the footage from the days he was here, but one scene has become my favorite.

On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis visited Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School in Harlem.  I was grading papers in my classroom and pulled it up on my smart board to watch.  Unfortunately my students were off for the day.  I loved watching him pull up to the waiting crowds of kids, seeing the students present their projects to him (high stakes show and tell) and listening to his warm speech about the value and community found in schools.  But my favorite part? When two students tried to show him how to use a smart board :).  Really though, I loved how he took the opportunity to showcase the true family found within a school. especially highlighting immigrants and minorities.  It was pretty cool that the kids that got to talk to Francis easy about their projects without an interpreter were the native Spanish speakers! He said that for everyone, school is like a second family.  "A family where, together with our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, our teachers and friends, we learn to help one another, to share our good qualities, to give the best of ourselves, to work as a team, for that is very important, and to pursue our dreams." (you can read the whole text of his speech here)

Even though my students were not in school, I wanted them to experience a taste of the most relatable part of the Pope's visit.   I've pulled up some videos that you can use in your school or CCD classroom, and made some matching prayer cards so that all kids can follow through on the Pope's homework!

"Before going, I would like to give you some homework. Can I? It is just a little request, but a very important one. Please don’t forget to pray for me, so that I can share with many people the joy of Jesus. And let us also pray that many other people can share joy like your own, whenever you feel supported, helped and counseled, even when there are problems. Even the, we still feel peace in our hearts, because Jesus never abandons us.  May God bless everyone of you today and may Our Lady watch over all of you. Thank you."

This video is a sweet two minute overview of the Pope's classroom visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels with the kids singing the Prayer of St. Francis over a montage of footage.

This video is about two minutes long and has the end of the Pope's speech containing the "homework" he had for the students.  (Pope Francis is speaking in Spanish, but an interpreter speaks over him at the same time.)

And this footage is the almost two hours of the Pope's arrival, classroom visit, greeting from the other guests in attendance, and his speech to the audience.  This is the footage that I watched live last week.  I am using this one in my classroom, but just fast forwarding to various clips.

Click on the image below for a printable prayer card, four per page, two sided, with a little picture of Pope Francis and the "homework" quote from the end of his speech.

What was you favorite part of the Pope's visit to the US?  What coverage do you think is most important for kids to see?


  1. This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing!