Start of a Journey…

April 15, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Franciscan University of Steubenville, News | Leave a comment

After rising early and leaving an hour and a half late, our crew finally got on the road to D.C. for a private tour of the John Paul II Cultural Center. We arrived at 2:50pm and were met by a reporter and cameraman working for WTOV-NBC. They interviewed Jessica Belback as a Steubenville townie and our two crews entered the building for the tour.

We were led by Jack Heretik through the first room until Deputy Director Dr. Hugh Dempsey met us to continue through the rest of the center, showing us where the Pope will walk tomorrow. The rotunda is the main entrance, with a throne at the front for Pope Benedict XVI. John Paul II also used this throne at a Mass in New York. It is here that Pope Benedict will address faith leaders of religions around the world. The rotunda and the entire JP II Cultural Center is designed in order for visitors to take a journey of faith, with its simplicity reflective of the tranquility of faith.

Dr. Dempsey showed us the gifts that will be presented to Pope Benedict from five leaders of Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hindu, and Jainism. Afterwards, we went through the chapel and the Papal & Polish Heritage Room, at which point Heather and Andy were pulled aside for more interviews by NBC. Stephanie and Jessica had to leave the center to walk to Catholic U in order to pick up our tickets for the events on Wednesday and Thursday. We then met with Fr. Steven, the Executive Director of the JP II Cultural Center, and Maria interviewed him at 4:45pm for about 10 minutes. We spoke with him about Franciscan University and warmly welcomed him to visit the campus. Outside, Maria interviewed a group of students from Catholic U on how the visit has affected their lives. We finished at the Cultural Center at 5:25pm and left the premises by 7:00pm to find food.

We filmed in the car for the documentary of our trip, blasting music, singing, and dancing as we headed straight towards the Capitol building. Antonio and Dr. Coyle met with us at the Irish restaurant called Dubliners, then left for the home we’re staying at in Virginia.

The first day of our special journey was stressful but very fruitful. Although not everything went according to plans, when does it ever work out how we imagine? We can’t wait for the amazing opportunities awaiting tomorrow at the White House, the National Shrine, and Georgetown University.

-Emma

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