Saint Leo Community Members Traveling To Welcome Pope Francis

September 21, 2015

Photo (from left to right): Traveling to see Pope Francis when he visits the United States from Saint Leo University are Father Stephan Brown, SVD, assistant to the president, University Ministry; Joshua Bartholomew, ‘17; Tiffany Fettig, ’16; and Emmanuel D. Mulowayi, graduate student in the MBA program. From Saint Leo Abbey are Brother Lucius Amarillas; and Abbot Isaac J. Camacho, OSB.

A big smile spread across Tiffany Fettig’s face as she spoke about her upcoming trip to see Pope Francis when he is in Philadelphia. Fettig, ’16, said of her trip, “I want to see Papa,” referring to the pope. And as a bonus, she will get to see her best friend and her “mission sisters,” young women who did mission work with her in Tiger, GA, this summer.

“I’m excited to be blessed by him,” Fettig, of Greenwood, Indiana, said of the papal visit to Philadelphia. Among the events there, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on Saturday, September 26, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and hold a prayer vigil at the World Meeting of Families on Sunday, September 27.

Saint Leo University and Saint Leo Abbey will be well represented at two of the sites for Pope Francis’ U.S. visit. Father Stephan Brown, SVD, assistant to the president, University Ministry, will accompany Joshua Bartholomew, ’17, and Emmanuel D. Mulowayi, graduate assistant in the MBA program to Washington, DC. Also making the journey to the nation’s capital will be Abbot Isaac J. Camacho, OSB, ’95, and Brother Lucius Amarillas.

“I’m very excited because I love Pope Francis,” said Bartholomew, of Metairie, Louisiana. “To see him come to America. . .He will deliver a special message that America needs to hear.”

Mulowayi, who was born in Belgium, echoed those sentiments. “I am blessed that I will get to see the pope, the head of the Catholic church.” He also is looking forward to spending time in prayer.

Pope Francis arrives in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. He will celebrate Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, September 23.

“He is our pastor,” Father Stephan said of the pope. “He is the universal pastor.” Father Stephan likes Pope Francis’ message for the Year of Mercy and the pope’s passion for accepting people from all walks of life.

“The teaching of the church has not changed,” he said. “But rather how does the church approach people so that they may experience God’s mercy.”

Congressman Gus Bilirakis secured tickets for Father Stephan, Bartholomew, and Mulowayi so that they may see Pope Francis after he addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, September 23.

Brother Lucius Amarillas is thrilled to be going to Washington. “I never in my life thought that I would get to see a pope. There is so much to take away (from the pope’s visit). He will have an impact on each one of us.”

Brother Lucius will be seated with other novices and seminarians for the Mass on Wednesday while Father Stephan and Abbot Isaac concelebrate the Mass.

While there has been much speculation in the news about what Pope Francis will say to Americans and to the U.S. Congress, Abbot Isaac said no one yet knows what that exact message will be. “I want to hear what he has to say,” he said. “About that, I am excited.”

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

  • Pray: The Diocese of St. Petersburg provided A Gathering of Hope Prayer:
    Heavenly Father, may Pope Francis’ visit,
    Through the intercession of Our Lady,
    Renew in us the desire of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ;
    Renew the spirit of loving charity in your church
    And grant us new energy to seek Jesus
    In the immigrants, the poor, and the needy.
    Amen.
  • Holes for Hope: Take a selfie with the pope! University Ministry is hosting Holes for Hope from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, September 23, at Kirk Hall. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to enjoy doughnuts and take photos with a large cutout of the pontiff. The pope’s journey is being followed by young, citizen journalists with a handle of #PopeIsHope and #GoodIsWinning. University Ministry is encouraging prayers for those making the trip to see Pope Francis as well as for the pope himself.
  • Share photos from TV watch parties and other events: Photos may be submitted to the Diocese of St. Petersburg from TV watch parties and other events to social media with the hashtag #DOSPpope and tag @DioStPete on Twitter and Instagram or the “Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg” on Facebook.

To read about one faculty member’s encounter with Pope Francis, click here.