Students visit Pope

For eight Northern Kentucky University students, their trip to Yankee Stadium in New York City was a pilgrimage.

Students in the NKU Catholic Newman Club, traveled to see the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI’s, historic first visit to the United States, including his address to thousands inside the Yankees’ ballpark.

“I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually be able to go to New York City and to be that close to the head of the church that I’ve been a part of,” Paul Myers, Catholic Newman Club president said.

Because many students wanted to limit the amount of class they would miss, the students waited until Friday afternoon to depart, requiring them to travel overnight and arrive late in the Big Apple late.

The spiritual elements of the trip began before the students even loaded the van.

Answering the Pope’s call for a return among Catholics to the practice of penance, the students were provided an opportunity to confess their sins. Msgr. Donald Helman, a local retired priest, made a special trip to NKU to allow students this opportunity.

Pope Benedict XVI gathered before a crowd of 57,000 at Yankee Stadium April 20 and referred to the mass as “a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a hope for coming generations.”

The pope also commented on a topic that has gotten a lot of recent attention at NKU, abortion. He said that the message of the church was to respect the dignity of all “including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Other students who participated include Jeanne Beckman, John Clark, Bryan Hils, Joseph Kiesewetter, Susan Knauer, Andrew Lewis, and Jennifer Sheriff. They were accompanied by two parents and an NKU religious studies professor.