Pope Francis accepted a handmade, heart-shaped card from Walsh University students studying in Rome.
It happened Wednesday, the same day the pope was named Time magazine’s “man of the year.”
The students and Walsh University faculty and staff were part of the general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Walsh University, a co-educational Catholic liberal arts and sciences institution, has more than 3,000 students from 15 states and 31 countries. It is a university in the Diocese of Youngstown.
Michael Cinson, director of student life at the Rome Campus, said the group arrived at 6 a.m. to get a good spot where the motorcade would pass by. A guard saw the Walsh sign, took it and gave it to Pope Francis. The pope kept the card, which was signed with well wishes on the front by all the students in the Rome study program and had a letter on the back asking him to join the students for dinner at their residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Castle Gandolfo is also the home of the Pope’s summer residence.
Walsh University students Giovanna Rion of Dover, Ohio, and Kathleen Wagner of Akron designed the card.
The student group left for study abroad in Rome on Oct. 25 and will return Dec. 20. As is part of Walsh University’s Global Learning program, six student trips to Rome are scheduled annually.
The Walsh Rome Experience turns Rome into a literal classroom for the study of Italian language history, art, culture, literature and archaeology. Students also take weekend excursions to Italy’s other great cities.