Catholic University of America student Lucy Consler, a native of Greece in Monroe County, said campus was beginning to settle down April 18 after the excitement of having Pope Benedict XVI visit the university April 17 and a nearby shrine April 16.
On April 17, Pope Benedict arrived on campus about 5:15 p.m. in a limousine and was escorted by many cars and motorcycles, Consler said. The pope paused and waved to the crowd of several thousand students gathered on the lawn of the university’s law school before entering the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.
Students had been preparing for his visit all day with a seven-hour “Rock the Pope” rally, which included watching a live broadcast of the pope’s Mass at Washington’s Nationals Park on a 23-foot-wide JumboTron video screen. The screen also showed student videos on Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II as well as the movie “Sister Act.”
Students carried a variety of signs, ranging from “Policy majors love the pope” to “Happy Birthday,” a nod to the pontiff’s 81st birthday April 16. One student also took the opportunity of having the national spotlight on campus to write in small letters on a sign, “Hi Mom. Please send more money.”
Consler, who is a parishioner of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and is a freshman Spanish major at the university, said the rally was “awesome.”
“There was so much excitement,” she said. “We just all feel so blessed that he would come to our campus.”
As the pontiff spoke to Catholic educators in the university center April 17, the students viewed the talk on the big screen. Following his address, the pope left the center in the popemobile, waving to the crowd as he traveled across campus for a meeting with leaders of other faiths.
On April 18, classes had resumed after a two-day hiatus.
“It’s slowing down,” Consler said. “It’s a little bit sad. It’s all over already.”