HOUSTON, TX - As hundreds of kids gear up to go back to class at Houston's Cristo Rey Jesuit, a handful of lucky students are planning the trip of a lifetime. When Pope Francis visits the United States next month, they will attend his World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
"It's a conference meant to bring in families and students from around the country," said Father Anthony Wieck, chaplain and teachers at Cristo Rey. He, some faculty and seven students will be guests of another Jesuit school while they stay in the City of Brotherly Love.
"To me, this trip means we're coming together as one whole family," said student Christienne Celestino, one of the students selected to make the trip. As a group, they've been researching and preparing for about six months.
Wieck says the goal is for the kids to be able to "come back to school and share what they learned from their experience with their fellow students."
While witnessing the Holy Father speak is an exciting prospect, the students say they're just as thrilled to connect with their Catholic Family.
"More than a million people are going to come together," said Celestino, "and I'm just excited to be united with all my other Catholic brothers and sisters."
Echoes fellow student Servando Ortiz: "Seeing the community come together to be one big crowd, one loud crowd."
It's a holy mission that these students clearly consider a blessing.