Pope Francis’ visit to the United States this week is a big deal. News outlets from coast to coast are covering the event. Nation-wide service efforts have been launched. Countless Pope tchotchkes—from bobble heads to life-size cut-outs to commemorative pens—have been created so anyone who wants a piece of Pope history can have it.
Here at Notre Dame Preparatory, students, teachers, and staff have been intentional in marking this momentous visit. Educational programming, spiritual events, and service activities have been designed so everyone may participate in the Pope’s visit in multiple ways. Plus, there’s even been a little fun thrown in.
Here are the top five ways NDP is marking Pope Francis’ journey to America.
- The “#IStandwithFrancis” Challenge
Campus ministers have set up a challenge – a la the Ice Bucket Challenge – to encourage friends and family to “Stand with Francis,” whether by praying, doing service, or reaching out to those in need. The students recorded their challenges, and we have been posting them for the past week to NDP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Remember to look for #IStandWithFrancis.
2. Portraits with the Pope
Students are committing in writing (on school-supplied white boards) to “Stand with Pope Francis” and taking photos of themselves with a life-size cut-out of Pope Francis. These portraits will be posted on social media later in the week, sending out the message to all that NDP “Stands with Francis.” (A few spirited souls even sneaked in a fun selfie, which was captured by an observant Sun reporter.)
Tired of those Toms? Are your Sperries spent? Then bring them in and the folks at NDP will make good use of them! In conjunction with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the NDP community is collecting gently worn shoes to be donated to organizations serving marginalized populations. Students are placing their shoes in front of their lockers to symbolize that we stand in solidarity with Pope Francis.
4. Undoing the Knots
To launch the week of Pope activities, community members held a prayer service in which they tied hundreds of ribbons on trees to symbolize individual prayers for our world and each other. The ribbons represent a person’s or society’s “knots”—or problems—that are referred to in Pope Francis’ favorite work of art, “Mary—Undoer of Knots.” Later in the week, in religion classes, NDP students will undo the knots, symbolizing their role in easing pain and suffering and transforming the world.
5. Witnessing History
Later this week, the NDP community will gather to watch the Pope’s historical address to the joint session of Congress (Thursday) and his speech to the United Nations (Friday). All week in classes, teachers have been preparing lesson plans—addressing topics such as the Pope’s encyclical on climate change and the canonization of Junipero Serra—to enable to girls to fully understand the significance of these events.
How are you celebrating Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S.? Bluenote wants to know! Message us and tell us what you are doing to “Stand with Francis”!