VIDEO: Local High School Students Witness Pope Celebrate Mass in NYC


HAMMONTON - “It was unreal. I still have trouble believing that I actually got to see him in person,” said Shane Leyden.

Senior Shane Leyden and Christina Michael were two of the twelve Catholic students chosen to be Bishop Dennis Sullivan’s special guest at Pope Francis’ mass inside Madison Square Garden.

The duo snapped a selfie or two as they waited in line for three hours to get into the venue on Friday.

“Everyone was just so excited and happy. We just didn’t want to sit and wait we just wanted to get in there and see him,” said Shane Leyden.

Once they got inside, they captured their emotions on an Apple iPhone.

“So we’re inside, we’re at our seats, mass is starting soon and we’re really excited! This place is huge. It’s like beautiful and the stage is amazing!” said Christina Michael.

One nun at the school says no two better students could have been chosen for this experience.

“I’m still processing it in my mind, that I got to experience the second greatest experience a Christian can have besides seeing heaven itself,” said Shane Leyden.

“It was kind of unreal, like you don’t think you’re ever going to see the Pope in person. But there he was, down there, so it was really exciting. So I was just like wow, I’m really seeing him this is really happening, it was really cool,” said Christina Michael.

The two seniors will now use their cell phone footage to create a documentary to showcase their time with the Pontiff.

“I feel like now since I’ve heard the Pope give the mass, like everything he said to us, I kind of feel more in touch with my faith. Like his homily and everything kind of just touched my heart. I feel closer now to my faith, " said Christina Michael.

The two friends both agree, seeing Pope Francis was once in a lifetime experience they’ll never forget.