ELSMERE – On the day Pope Francis was to arrive in Washington, D.C., the students at All Saints Catholic School in Elsmere took to the streets to welcome the pontiff and share his message.
Complete with a police escort, the All Saints students mingled with employees, firefighters and customers along the way.
Younger children – those in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade – began with a stop at the Wawa next to the school. There, in the corner of the parking lot, they sang for employees who gathered in the parking lot.
From there, it was a short trek to the Elsmere Fire Company, where several firefighters listened to the song and took pictures. Third-grade students carried cards with them for the firefighters, with messages such as this: “Thank you for being a part of our community. In honor of the pope’s visit, we’re praying for you.”
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students wore miters, while other students carried posters that included likenesses of Pope Francis and lists of his likes and dislikes. At each stop, led by music teacher Robert Colligan, they performed “We Are All God’s Children.”
At Mark’s Barber Shop, a customer sat in a chair for a haircut next to the cardboard pope. “We’re here to show our excitement about the pope coming to the United States,” a teacher said.
Other stops on the procession included the Oak Grove Senior Center and Serpe’s Bakery.
The parade was the latest project related to Pope Francis’ visit. Dante Gravino, a fourth-grader, said another involved using a computer program and video clips to “interview” the pope. Dante said the procession was a good way to reach people who may not be particularly religious.
“I think it’s good because we can try to have people have a change of heart and go to church more often,” he said, adding that he would try to watch the Mass from Philadelphia on Sept. 27.
His classmate, Yohanna Hailu, said the procession was a good idea because “we got to sing. We got to make people feel like God loves them.”