Long Beach Children Honor Pope's Legacy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/08/05

Long Beach Children Honor Pope's Legacy

More than 300 children and their parents raised their voices in praise at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach.

They sang hymns like "And I will raise you up on the last day".

The mass on the day Pope John Paul II was laid to rest honored a man they call the "Anchor of their Faith".

Father Louie Lohan said "May your servant, Pope John Paul II, our pope, vicar of Peter and shepherd of your church, rejoice with you forever in heaven".

Twelve year old Ben Schroeder said "We're trying to lift people's spirits up. I mean, because everybody was sad because he died".

The St. Thomas Elementary students know how much the Pope adored children, and the children were drawn to him.

One child prayed "For the youth of our world, may they remember the words of Pope John Paul II, and his great respect for human life".

Eleven-year-old Nicole Miketinas said "I know that he liked to interact with children. I thought that was cool, and he went around all over the world to meet people".

Even though they've never met the Pope, the children say he touched their lives.

Nine-year-old Joey Bilheimer said "He taught them to be good and don't do bad things and obey the ten commandments".

Twelve-year-old Tyler Magandy said "He helped me with my brothers, to keep me in control".

Eleven-year-old Clint VanCourt said "He taught me to live a good life and live peacefully and don't fight".

The mass ended with the tolling of the church bell -- 84 times to mark the Pope's 84 years on earth.

Joey said "I was really sad because one of the holiest men on earth was gone, and he's up in heaven".

The children will continue to pray for the pope over the next nine days of mourning. Also, at the end of the school year, St. Thomas will give out an award to a child who best represents a peace-maker, in honor of Pope John Paul II.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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