St. Joseph’s Prep and the Gesu School Host Hundreds of Jesuit High School Students for Papal Pilgrimage in Philadelphia

By Jesuit Schools Network (JSN)
Oct 1st, 2015

Hundreds of students from more than 40 Jesuit high schools in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico had the trip of a lifetime when they traveled to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis during his visit there at the end of September. This opportunity was made possible thanks to a pilgrimage hosted by St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and their neighbors, the Jesuit-run Gesu School, located less than two miles from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the Pope celebrated the concluding Mass of the World Meeting of Families on September 27.

Philadelphia native Adam Rosinski, SJ, a Jesuit in formation who is starting his second year at the Prep as a teacher and campus minister, along with two student leaders, Liam Scott ’17 and John Barbera ’17, were part of the team organizing the event. When the Pope first announced he’d be visiting Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, they asked themselves how the Prep could respond.

“After a lot of prayer and conversation we ended up with the idea that we’re being invited to share this experience with our larger Ignatian and Jesuit family,” explains Rosinski. “We invited a wide range of Jesuit high schools to send pilgrims to Philadelphia to share this experience.”

Over 300 students from 42 Jesuit high schools traveled to St. Joseph’s Prep to participate in “2Philly4Francis: Ignatian Pilgrims on the Journey” from Sept. 24-28. The students camped out in classrooms at the Prep and gathered for liturgies, to listen to speakers and have breakout sessions on topics close to the Pope’s heart, including joy, mercy and encounter.

The organizers hoped the pilgrimage would achieve three goals: that each student would have an encounter with Jesus; that each student would come to better know the Catholic and Jesuit identity that they share; and that the students would take the experience home and share it with their friends and family who couldn’t make it to Philadelphia.

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