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Three Indy students hand-picked to see the pope

Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 17:15:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS – The first-ever trip to the United States for Pope Francis will have at least three Indiana students in attendance in Philadelphia.

He visits Washington, D.C., New York, then Philadelphia, where he’ll attend the Festival of Families and take part in the papal mass. That’s where three lucky students from Cathedral High School will be.

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When their theology teacher chose them to go to Pennsylvania with him, they couldn’t believe their ears.

“And he said, ‘So, do you want to go see the pope?’ And I was like, ‘Are you kidding? Is that a joke?’” Cathedral High School senior Molly Mitchell said.

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For Mitchell, the opportunity to see Pope Francis gives a chance to learn what no textbook can teach.

“You can’t get that fire from reading a book,” Mitchell said. “It’s kind of an experimental learning.”

MORE | Pope Francis says divorce is sometimes "morally necessary"

Mitchell and two of her fellow students get to go to Philly for free to see the pope.

Theology teacher Matt Cannaday had good fortune, managing to nab hard-to-get tickets to see the pope at the Festival of Families.

“I was one of a few people to get four tickets that were available for 35 seconds,” Cannaday said. “Ten-thousand tickets available for 35 seconds – and I got four. So that kind of sealed the deal.”

He then helped pick the three students who the school believes will get the most out of the trip.

“I (will) let them experience it. We’ll definitely do prayer throughout the trip,” Cannaday said. “We’ll do some reflection on it.”

MORE | Pope Francis asks European parishes to shelter refugees

One of the other three students chosen says she is still in a sort of shock.

“I never thought I would even see the pope in my life, and now it’s happening. It’s pretty awesome,” Senior Rachel Kent said.

While the third says he’ll pass down this trip to see the pope for the rest of his life.

“I was thinking about it the other day – and I’m going to be telling my children and grandchildren about this experience,” Senior Mike Rushka said.

The students will fly to Philadelphia next week and will share their experience with the rest of the school on their return.

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Follow Mike Pelton on Twitter: @MikePeltonrtv6