Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 13:45

Assumption Students Attend Papal Mass in Philadelphia

WORCESTER, MA (September 29, 2015)— Assumption College students had an up-close-and- personal experience when His Holiness Pope Francis made his first Apostolic Journey to the United States. Thirty-one Assumption College students took the pilgrimage to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families Papal Mass on Sunday, September 27, and were able to see Pope Francis as he passed along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

(Please scroll downward for links to news coverage featuring Assumption students including The Boston Globe, FOX25, New England Cable News and more.)

The trip, which was coordinated  by the College’s Office of Campus Ministry, also included 18 students from the neighboring College of the Holy Cross. The Mass occured on the last day of Pope Francis’s six-day Apostolic Journey to the United States. Prior to Philadelphia, the Holy Father visited Washington, D.C., and New York City. Students boarded a bus early Saturday morning, September 26, and stopped in New Jersey for the night before departing for Philadelphia early Sunday morning.

“Pope Francis has captured the imagination and the hearts of so many young Catholics,” said Paul Covino, Assumption College’s director of Campus Ministry. “Many in this generation are inspired to see in the Pope a reflection of some of their own deepest concerns and desires, including his compassion for refugees and the poor, his desire to show God’s mercy to those who are alienated from their faith, and his concern for the stewardship of God’s creation.  Assumption students embraced the opportunity to attend Mass with Pope Francis in Philadelphia and celebrate their faith with Catholics from across the country.”

"Celebrating Mass with the Pope is a gift that not everyone experiences, and for that I am truly blessed,” said Alexander Cerbo ’18, who attended the Papal Mass in Philadelphia. 

Cerbo’s classmate, Corrine Murphy ’17, was also part of the once-in-a-lifetime experience. “In a world where being Catholic often has a negative connotation, Pope Francis has made it a point to reach out to those who have historically felt marginalized or ostracized,” Murphy said. “With his focus on mercy and human dignity, he has really captured the interest of college students. It's commonly said that the Church needs to ‘get with the times,’ and I think that Pope Francis, through his words and deeds, has shown that the love of Christ and the Catholic Church is timeless.” 

Ahead of this historic visit, Assumption engaged students in a community service project benefitting an issue of great importance to His Holiness—poverty. Because community service is a cornerstone of Assumption’s identity, the College arranged a day or service at  the Community Harvest Project (CHP) in Grafton.  During this time, nearly two dozen volunteers helped harvest fruit, which was sent directly to the Worcester County Food Bank.

In addition, Campus Ministry hosted a bagel breakfast for the Assumption community on Thursday, September 24, in which they livestreamed Pope Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress the Tinsley Campus Ministry Center. 

Leading up to, and during, the trip to Philadelphia, several print and television media outlets visited campus to interview President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D. and students and staff participating in the trip. Media coverage included:


Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College
ke.dunbar@assumption.edu @AssumptionNews