Students, principals of 4 Catholic schools prepare to meet Pope Francis

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The four Catholic schools in New York that will be represented during Pope Francis' visit to New York next month were officially introduced Thursday.

The schools are Our Lady Queen of Angels, St. Ann School, St. Charles Borromeo School and St. Paul School. The pope will visit Sept. 25.

The pope will meet 24 students representing the four parochial schools throughout Harlem. A handful of third- and fourth-graders from each school will meet him at Our Lady Queen of Angels, where Thursday's news conference was held.

The four Catholic school principals who will meet with Pope Francis were also introduced Thursday.

According to the Archdiocese of New York, the students will demonstrate how Catholic education helps children in their lives during the visit.

The students also plan to invite Pope Francis to pray with and for them. The archdiocese teaches 70,000 students citywide.

"I'm feeling very excited," said Maziya Clemente, a fourth-grader.

The summer's not over, but there they were, in uniform and in preparation for a most important assignment.

The 3rd and 4th graders, along with their principals, were getting ready for next month's visit from Pope Francis. "I was like no way, no way," said 4th grader Noah Rodriguez.

The pontiff made clear he wanted to visit an inner city Catholic school during his trip to New York. The very room at Our Lady Queen of Angels where Thursday's news conference was held will be where the Pope will meet the 24 students.

"I'm feeling pretty excited," said 4th grader Maziya Clemente. ("Nervous?", we asked) "Yes nervous, very nervous," she said.

"Our entire school population is just full of joy and full of the faith," said St. Ann School Principal Hope Mueller. "So when you walk into our building, you literally will see it in these children's faces."

The students will sit at four tables presenting assignments based on the environment, community service and the Holy Eucharist, issues important to Pope Francis and values the Archdiocese teaches all of its 70,000 students citywide.

"They're doorways out of poverty for so many immigrants, and then I'm going to give him that statistic: 64 percent of our children below the poverty line, and 98 percent of them heading on to college," said Archdiocese of New York Schools Superintendent Timothy McNiff.

After meeting with students, Pope Francis will be briefed on the work being done by Catholic Charities, and then it will be downtown to the main event: the mass at Madison Square Garden.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Click here to follow all of abc7NY's stories on the pope's visit to New York
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.