By: Ashley Seifert
Shen Pen Reporter
Recently, the Pope visited three cities in the United States on his tour. He made stops in Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, where he performed mass and visited many people, both elite and impoverished. However, what many people don’t know is how this affects our local community. The Albany Diocese held a lottery so that students of the Capital District could enter to win the chance to see the Pope’s mass at Madison Square Garden. Fifty students from the area were chosen at random to witness this momentous occasion. Among this group of young adults was Shenendehowa High School senior, Erin Galvin.
Galvin is an active member of her spiritual community. She has participated in the Christian Leadership Institute and volunteers often with her church, St. Edward’s. She was informed of the lottery by David Stagliano, the youth minister of the Albany Diocese. Upon receiving the news, Galvin was excited to have the opportunity to enter her name in hopes of being chosen. She waited patiently until one September afternoon when she got the call that she was chosen.
As one of the fifty students chosen for the event, Galvin was thrilled to witness this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although she is active in her community, Galvin had not met all of the other students before their journey. The experience brought Albany’s community of faith closer together.
For Galvin, getting to New York City was both scary and exciting. Galvin’s bus, along with 9 others, were stopped by Homeland Security to be inspected. After inspections were complete, the group of buses received a police escort to the entrance of Madison Square Garden. Once inside the massive stadium, Galvin saw many performers, but the most exciting moment was when the Pope came out. “There’s a man driving a golf cart, and then there’s the Pope,” she said. The screams of the crowd were deafening, but it soon turned to silence, so that every word may be heard.
To Galvin, the most inspiring moment of the Mass was the Pope’s homily, which was delivered in Spanish. “Pope Francis is very inclusive of all sorts of people from all walks of life,” she said. His message advises everyone to see the best in others, especially those who are never recognized. Of those people, the Pope said, “We should be bringing them out into the light and spreading this light and hope around.”
According to Galvin, this faith-strengthening experience will live with her forever. In her opinion, now is the best time to be a part of the Catholic Church. According to Galvin, having such an open minded leader will help solve pressing issues, both within and out of the church.