New York City students getting ready for their personal meeting with Pope Francis

ByCeFaan Kim WABC logo
Thursday, September 17, 2015
NYC students getting ready for their personal meeting with Pope Francis
CeeFan Kim reports from East Harlem

EAST HARLEM (WABC) -- When Pope Francis arrives in New York next week, a handful of lucky students will get to meet him.

"It's going good, I'm getting it all done and now I'm taping it so that I can glue," said Nicholas Marronara.

For Nicholas, it's a school project that he will remember for the rest of his life.

That's because the 4th grader at Our Lady Queen of Angels in East Harlem is one of 6 students set to meet Pope Francis and present the pontiff with their projects.

Nicholas's project is a cardboard model of his home.

But he says what's important, is what it's made of.

"I hope he thinks that it's a really good idea because all this stuff is recycled and he likes to recycle and take care of the environment," said Nicholas.

There are four elementary schools in the New York Archdiocese with students who will meet the pope.

Each school picked a theme important to this pope, including preserving the environment, community service and helping the needy.

"They are 8, 9 years old," said school principal Joanne Walsh. "They are not going to for many years realize the immensity or the historical aspects of what's going on. So I think what they're gaining from this is first of all knowing that a very important person in the church and the world - pope francis - is asking them to do their part, that they're not too young to do their part."

Allison Reyes is also excited to meet the pontiff.

Not too young to do her part, and certainly not too young to understand the pope's message.

"I think the pope is going to be really happy that we're re-using because he really wants us to recycle and take care of our common home," she said. "I'm really excited that the pope is coming because he's a special person to me and he's a special person to God."


Meanwhile, second and fourth graders at the St. Ann School in Manhattan were sorting and packing donated goods to be delivered to the Ronald McDonald House of New York, in honor of Pope Francis.

"I think the pope will approve of this because he wants us to take care of others," said Noah Rodriguez.

And Noah is really hoping the pontiff will approve, because he's one of a half dozen students from St. Ann's who will get the chance to meet him in person, and show him how they're doing their part by helping the less fortunate.

Maziya Clemente will be meeting the pope too, and while she may only be in the fourth grade, she knows how big of a deal this will be.

"He's like the most important person in the world," Maziya said.

"More than anything, I hope that they are able to get some of the spirit from Pope Francis," said principal Hope Mueller. "His persona, his character, his love for the people. And I hope more than anything that these children take away that sense of service."

In the meantime, the kids at St. Ann's have done their homework on the pontiff. They say they're inspired by the pope's teachings because he's lead by example.

"I know that he gave away a hundred sleeping bags to charity, for his birthday," said Maziya.

"He had a motorcycle and he donated it," said Noah. ("Really? What's so cool about that?", we asked.) "It's cool because he actually had a motorcycle," he said.

Already dubbed one of the "coolest" pope's in history, Pope Francis definitely has some little fans waiting for him at St. Ann's.