By Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

“Pope Francis and the People:” High school students, immigrants and the homeless have live virtual chat with the Pope ahead of his ABC 20/20 Special.

Several weeks before his scheduled visit to the United States, Pope Francis held a virtual audience with select American groups through the ABC television network. On August 31, the Pope listened to the stories and actively communicated with the American attendees live via satellite TV.

The three groups who were given the opportunity to speak to the Catholic pontiff include students from the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, a group of homeless men and women from Los Angeles and a group of immigrants who are being helped by the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas. It is certainly a groundbreaking event for the Catholic Church because it’s the first time in history that a Pope communicated remotely with an audience using satellite or internet technology.

The main objective of the session was for the Pope to reach out to Americans who won’t have the opportunity to meet with him on his upcoming visit to the US. The Pope also ensured that the youth, homeless, migrants and other marginalized groups are prioritized for such especial meeting.

The Popes upcoming visit from September 22 until 27 is just limited to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. Included in his itineraries are; the meeting with President Barrack Obama, making an address at the Congress, visiting an East Harlem school, visiting a prison and the World Meeting of Families. The Pope will also address the UN General Assembly in New York.

Perhaps one of the most touching parts of the virtual meeting was the time when 17-year-old Valerie Herrera broke into tears while telling the story of how she suffered from constant bullying because of her rare skin condition. She shared to the Pope how music helped her cope up.

Upon listening to her story, Pope Francis asked the high school student to sing for him. After noticing that Valerie became nervous and shy, the pope encouraged her by saying “Be courageous!” The student sang a Spanish song, “By You, Mary.” The Pope thanked her afterwards.

The virtual meeting moderated by anchor David Muir will be aired as a 20/20 special presentation in ABC this coming Friday, September 4 at 10pm Eastern with the title Pope Francis and the People.”


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