Malvern administrators and students react and prepare for the upcoming visit of the Holy Father this month.
On September 26, Pope Francis will arrive at the City of Philadelphia, and help the city conclude the World Meeting of Families. Malvern will be participating in this World Meeting of Families and will be doing many things to help students participate.
“Curricularly speaking, each theology class will have some sort of project or unit that centers around the family, said President Fr. James Flynn, OSA. “This project will hopefully be interactive between the student, his parents, and siblings.”
Malvern has scheduled Reverse C schedules each day of World Meeting of Families, during the week leading up to the Pope’s visit. Each day, one class will report at 8:00 AM for a Mass. The middle school Mass is Monday, Sept. 21. The freshman class Mass is Tuesday, sophomores on Wednesday, juniors on Thursday, and seniors on Friday.
According to an email sent to families by Malvern Communications, the class Masses are mandatory for the students, but parents, siblings and grandparents are invited to attend.
The email also stated that families are invited to visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families, and that student absences to attend the Meeting would be marked as excused.
The World Meeting of Families will bring a great amount of Catholics to Philadelphia, in numbers unseen since Pope St. John Paul II visited Philadelphia in 1979.
“People are coming from all over the world for this, right? Just to be able to meet them and to get their perspective of life and the meetings will be on family life… it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” said Flynn.
Flynn said he hoped that the school could send about 50 students each day down to the city to take part in World Meeting of Families activities and meet attendees. However, he said this was not possible, as Meeting’s programming is designed for families.
Another idea Flynn proposed was that Malvern students could act as guides to the thousands of visitors who are not familiar with the city. The idea was scrapped as event organizers wanted guides to be over 18 years of age, said Flynn.
Malvern purchased SEPTA passes to help students and parents who would like to see the Pope. Members of the Malvern community can purchase these passes by contacting Mrs. Melinda Dresden, Assistant to the President and Head of School.
Several students are also looking forward to the Pope’s visit.
“I think that the Pope is a very influential person in today’s society,” said Rohan Jhunjhunwala ‘18. “And [he] can serve as a role model for all of us.”
“I think it’s going to bring a lot of popularity to Philadelphia,” Sam Rose ’17 said. “There is going to be a lot of people for sure.”
Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot said he was not very involved in the planning process, and that Father Flynn was in charge of the plan for Malvern.
Even if students or families are not attending, Talbot said the Malvern community can learn from the Pope’s message.
“We should continue to emphasize his central themes,” he said, “which are care for the environment, concern for the less fortunate, diversity and inclusion, and then finally, mercy.”
“The Pope is a person whose best friend is Jesus Christ, and that’s [how] all of us at Malvern ought to be,” said Flynn.