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BC Faculty, Students on Pope Francis' Historic Visit

students take a selfie with a Pope Francis cut-out
A Pope Francis cut-out supplied by BC's nationally-emulated Agape Latte faith coversation program proved to be a selfie magnet during the papal visit. (Photo by Sean Smith)

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (September 2015) -- Members of the Boston College community responded in numerous ways to the historic visit of Pope Francis to Cuba and the United States this month, as evidenced by the following highlights:

The popularity of the pope with young people is evident at BC, and was featured in a report from campus on NECN, that interviewed students, highlighted their attendance at a Campus Ministry-sponsored Mass for the Pope celebrated by Argentine Jesuit Gustavo Morello, S.J., and glimpsed the taking of 'selfies' on campus with a cut-out of the pope.

Among the School of Theology and Ministry students traveling to see Pope Francis at his U.S. stops were Jessica McCarthy, Megan Hopkins, Steven Patzke and James Luisi. The fourclad in shirts that represented the Church in the 21st Century Center's nationally-emulated Agape Latte programoccasionally tweeted their experiences in New York and Philadelphia for C21. Theology Department doctoral candidate Daniel DiLeo STM '13 was among those invited to attend the pope's remarks on the White House South Lawn, an experience which he described as 'incredibly exciting.'

Boston College faculty members providing analysis of and perspective on Pope Francis' visit include:


Church in the 21st Century Center Director Thomas Groome, in addition to being interviewed for the segment above, addressed the pope's visit to Cuba on NECN 'Broadside,' WGBH 'Greater Boston' and in the Boston Herald; commented on the U.S. visit to outlets including Reuters, AP and WRKO ' Morning Show'; and addressed the changing U.S. Church and the need for religious vocations in an International Business Times piece that also interviewed School of Theology and Ministry students Christopher Calderon, S.J., and Sister Laura Downing.

Roberto Goizueta

Cuban-born Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Roberto Goizueta on the 'profoundly moving experience' of Pope Francis' visit to his homeland. BC Chronicle.

James Keenan, SJ

Canisius Professor of Theology and Jesuit Institute Director Rev. James Keenan, S.J., previewed the papal vist on BBC Radio (scroll down to 7th chapter) and commented on the meaning of mercy in America.

Stephen Pope

Professor of Theology Stephen Pope addressed the pope's approach to hot-button political issues in Newsday, in an interview on Boston Herald Radio "Newsfeed" which was reported in the Boston Herald, and to Reuters.

Kenneth Himes

Associate Professor of Theology Rev. Kenneth Himes, O.F.M., discussed the speeches to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a papal first, and the U.N. General Assembly, in a Q&A with the Council on Foreign Relations.

James Weiss

Associate Professor of Theology Rev. James Weiss weighed in the pope and politics for the Christian Science Monitor, UPI, Al Jazeera America and The Hill.

James Weiss

Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus Rev. Robert Imbelli wrote on the papal call to the 'better angels of our nature' in a piece for America.


James Bretzke SJ

School of Theology and Ministry Professor Rev. James Bretzke, S.J., in Philadelphia to see the pope, was interviewed about the visit on WRKO " Morning Show and was quoted twice by USA Today: 1, 2. He discussed the pope's appeal to youth with NECN, his encyclical 'Laudato Si' with USA Today, his mission to combat loss of human dignity on MSNBC (begins at 3:34), his outreach to U.S. Hispanics for the Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial.

Hosffman Ospino

School of Theology and Ministry Assistant Professor Hosffman Ospino commented on issues related to the pope's visit and Latino Catholics: Los Angeles Times, NBC, Latino USA, Religion News Service, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal

Tiziana Dearing

School of Social Work Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing wrote on the pope's address to Congress for the Huffington Post, and her comments on his leadership were cited by Fast Company. She was interviewed before and during the visit: NPR 'On Point', Radio Boston, MSNBCNECN and NECN 'Broadside,' WRKO ' Morning Show'WBUR Morning Edition, WCVB-TV News, NECN, Boston Herald Boston Globe 1Boston Globe 2, Lowell Sun

Gustavo Morello SJ

Argentine Assistant Professor of Sociology Rev. Gustavo Morello, S.J., provided a primer on Pope Francis' Argentinian history in a piece for, picked up by the Huffington Post

James O'Toole

Clough Millennium Professor of History James O'Toole's historical perspective on America and the papacy was published by We're

Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill

Roche Center for Catholic Education Executive Director Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill of the Lynch School of Education commented on why the pope chose to address Congress:

Joseph O'Keefe, S.J.

Center for Ignatian Spirituality Director Joseph O'Keefe, S.J., reflected on the Jesuit pontiff's visit in an interview with Fox News Boston.