Local Catholic School reacts to high honor for Pope Francis

Dec 11, 2013 6:48 PM

The leader of the Catholic Church has beat out the likes of politicians and pop stars for Time Magazine’s "Person of the Year" honor.

Pope Francis assumed the papacy in March. In just a short time, he's achieved incredible fame and popularity, even here in the North State.

“There's just a fascination with Pope Francis,” St. John the Baptist Pastor Tim Nondorf said.

“I don't think anyone would disagree he's one of the best popes in my lifetime,” Notre Dame School student Jack Terrell said. “Of course that’s only three.”

That would be Pope John Paul the second, Pope Benedict, and now, Pope Francis.

For eighth graders at Notre Dame Catholic School in Chico, Francis is a weekly topic of discussion.

“We try and talk about, well, what's the world look like today, and why would God have placed this man, Francis, in this position, for today?” Notre Dame teacher Chris Seiber said.

“He addresses the youth and older people, just everyone as a whole and how you should live your life morally,” eighth grader Shane Bronner said.

Less than a year into the papacy, he's Time's Person of the Year.

“He’s getting recognition for the good he's been doing,” eighth grader Elena Lucero said. “It's his influence on our lives and how he changes us.”

Spreading love, helping the poor, challenging the principles of capitalism, are all reasons the pope is one popular guy.

“Too often we get fixated on material things,” Nondorf said. “We get fixated on earning potential, and how much money we make. Pope Francis is once again challenging us to look at our priorities, and our priorities have to be one another.”

And in Jack Terrell's opinion, he has the methods to make the Catholic Church more than the center of controversies like abortion.

“Thanks to Pope Francis, I feel like we've moved away from that and moved to a church of respect, a church of honor,” Terrell said.

Francis is a pope “Father Tim” believes students will look up to as they figure out who they want to be.

But for these eighth graders at Notre Dame, they're well on their way.


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