Lancaster County students to see Pope Francis in Washington

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Thirteen-year-old Katherine Sahd knows she’s been given a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“You always grow up hearing about the pope and all that he is. Being able to see him is just crazy,” she told ABC 27 News. “I don’t know what to expect. I’m just excited to be in his presence.”

Sahd is one of the eighth graders from Saint Leo the Great Elementary School who will be in Washington D.C. on Thursday when Pope Francis speaks at a joint session of Congress.

The children were given that chance when Congressman Joe Pitts called the school’s principal and said he had tickets for them.

“Before he could even get the whole question out, I could hear what his beautiful gift was to us. I said yes,” principal Christine McLean said.

McLean said she hopes the trip helps the children strengthen their faith.

“Our students are charmed by his message of mercy,” she said.

The students will be the only ones from the Harrisburg Diocese making Thursday’s trip.

Britt Fulton said she would love to ask Pope Francis a question.

“I just hope to learn a lot from him,” she said. “He’s an inspiration.”

The students will have to watch the speech on a big screen on the West Lawn at the Capitol Building, but they’re hoping the Holy Father blesses the crowd when he’s outside.

Thomas Panyak said no matter what the experience, the trip is something he’ll never forget.

“I just hope to deepen my Catholic faith,” he told ABC 27 News.

The bus the students are taking has been paid for by a local parish.

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