What Does the Papal Visit Mean to You? Regis Faculty and Staff Weigh In
On Thursday, Pope Francis makes his historic visit to New York City. Below, Regis faculty and staff share their thoughts on what a visit from the world’s first Jesuit Pope means to them.
Amatrucola Mr. Joseph Amatrucola, Director of Information Technology
“I think it’s very significant that Pope Francis has chosen to visit the United States, and feel grateful and blessed that New York City is on his short list. As someone who has been hanging out with the Jesuits since I was 14 years old, I feel like we who are involved in Jesuit apostolates and all who are products of Jesuit education are welcoming Pope Francis in a special way. I mean, he’s one of us, just like all the other Jesuits who’ve touched our lives over the years. It’s a special honor and responsibility we have to live lives that are deserving of his affirmation. Quite honestly, I wait with great anticipation to hear what he will say to Congress and the United Nations. In his two short years in office, we’ve already experienced Pope Francis to be such a strong agent of change, encouraging Catholics and non-Catholics alike to re-examine who we are and how we value one another, most especially those who have so little. We know he’s not one to mince words, so I’m looking forward to what I hope will be some soul-searching challenges for our national and global leaders.”
Atkinson Paul Atkinson '71, Director of Planned Giving
"I was in seventh grade when Paul VI made the first papal U.S. visit, and I watched his Yankee Stadium mass on TV. The visit was a big source of pride for American Catholics (“Our guy is finally here”) akin to the feeling generated at John Kennedy’s 1960 election. It was a simpler, more naive Catholic world fifty years ago, very different from the one Francis leads today. The pope is being pulled in many directions, and is himself stepping into areas wrought with controversy. My hope is that his visit will rise above this din and offer America and the world a clear and essential expression of the eternal truth of Christ’s message."
Basile Ms. Donna Basile, Language Department
“Pope Francis is a beacon of light and hope for Catholics, and for people of all faiths. His charisma, compassion, spirit of forgiveness and love for everyone have inspired me to live Christ’s teachings every day. He has revitalized my faith and has brought us all hope for a more inclusive, accepting and invigorated Catholic Church. The Pope has even touched my non-Christian friends with his simplicity, serenity and messages of kindness and care for humanity and for the environment. I saw Pope John Paul II in a procession in 1979. It was very exciting! I will be one of the lucky 80,000 in Central Park on Friday. My cousin and I only wish that our mothers, who were women of deep and unwavering faith, were still alive to see and hear this Pope.”
Gallagher Mr. Sean Gallagher ’08, English Department
“I’m thrilled that Americans of all backgrounds and creeds will have the opportunity to hear directly from the leader of the Catholic Church. Through his words and through his actions, Pope Francis has inspired anyone with a full heart and an open mind, and his visit has shone a light on several issues that are critical to our faith and to the future of our Church. I hope that Francis’ time in America invigorates the young men and women who comprise the future of our Church, and that they, following in Pope Francis’ footsteps, commit themselves to fighting injustice and serving those in need.”
Grunner Mr. David Grunner ’05, English Department
"Like many others, I’ve been energized and filled with hope by Francis’s rhetoric of acceptance, the humility with which he’s tried to carry out his office and his overall focus on issues of social justice. It takes a Jesuit, I suppose, to bring the Church closer to what it should be! He’s tapping into something real and urgent, and even if Church doctrine isn’t changing per se, to hear a Pontiff speak and to see a Pontiff act in such a way is nothing short of refreshing. Maybe a little bit of this passion, discernment and gusto will rub off on all of us here in D.C., New York and Philadelphia."
Kennedy Mr. James Kennedy ’02, REACH Academic Dean for Language Arts
“I remember John Paul II’s 1995 visit. I was 11 years old and the only thing that really stuck out to me at the time was the ‘Pope Mobile.’ I am more excited about this visit, not only because I am more mature, but also because this pope has been a very exciting figure. I recall fondly the excitement around Regis on the day he was elected. Many in our community—especially Brendan Coffey—were surprised and thrilled by selection of the first Jesuit pope. Francis’s papacy has also been inspiring to me because he is working to change the perception of the Catholic Church and to reorient Catholics in our faith. He leads by his examples of humility, compassion, and commitment to others, and he challenges us to put the Gospel teachings at the heart of our faith lives. I admire him for that and look forward to reading his addresses to Congress and the U.N.”
Lane Fr. Mark Lane, C.O., Director of Campus Ministry
“Between the visits to Congress, The UN, all the parades and celebrations of Pope Francis’ itinerary are visits to a prison in Philadelphia, an inner city parish and Catholic Charities in Washington DC, and a Catholic parochial school in Harlem. These events would be easy to miss. I am hoping his visit will open our eyes and our hearts, as wide as his, so we too can see our sisters and brothers who are often left on the margins of the world’s itinerary. Not just because these people are deserving of the resources we can share, but because the mutual encounter is, in the emphasis of Pope Francis himself, the ONLY way God enters our world. And so many of us need so much a God of compassion and practical care.”
Peelan Mrs. Patricia Peelen P'81, Main Office Coordinator
"I am proud to be a Catholic. My faith is deeply rooted and I am thankful that I live in a country where I am free to practice what I believe without fear. The Pope’s visit tells me that he is a true man for others and is willing to travel far and wide to spread the word as Christ did. Pope Francis is a true disciple in my eyes. He does not fear going out into the crowd and touch the heart and soul of his people. He lives modestly and reaches out to those that are less fortunate. I am sure that there are many New Yorkers who feel the same as I do. Pope Francis inspires me to be a better person in faith and in my everyday living."
Remsen Ms. Carol Remsen, Mathematics Department
“This Papal Visit brings me great hope: hope for a more peaceful and joyful world. With his genuine, humble, and charismatic personality, I hope Pope Francis (as the first Jesuit pope) will inspire more people to want to know Jesus. And, in doing so, more people will see our lives as a response to God's great love for us, and will be moved to respond with generous hearts!
Scacalossi Mr. James Scacalossi ’83 P’15, Theology Department
“I am eager to hear what Pope Francis has to say. He has been a breath of fresh air speaking the truth. He is speaking the truth courageously, candidly, and compassionately. I admire the simplicity that Francis has advocated and taught by his personal lifestyle. His willingness to listen, to not judge, and to emphasize God’s mercy are things we should aspire to. Back in 1988 I had the privilege of celebrating the Eucharist with Pope John Paul II in his chapel. To pray with the Pope and meet him afterwards was an incredibly moving experience.”

Posted: 9/22/15