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Viva el Papa!
Everest Academy in Lemont, Illinois, celebrates Pope Day

Pope and bodyguards

Pope Francis was recently represented by kindergarten student Nathaniel Akroush in the annual celebration of “Pope Day” at Everest Academy in Lemont, Illinois.  

Each year, a Kindergarten student is selected to act as the Pope based on his character, spirituality and dedication to serving others. Nathaniel Akroush (son of Dr. Joel and Jeannette Akroush of Lemont) was selected for the role of the pope this year by a team including the Kindergarten teachers, the Dean of Students, and the Principal.  

“Nathaniel loves Jesus so much,” reported Rose Maher, his kindergarten teacher. “He is such a gentleman and always goes out of his way to help others, such as helping classmates with their coats or welcoming visitors.” 

This is not the first time Nathaniel has donned religious garb.  On Career Day at Everest, he dressed up as a Catholic priest. 

As part of the integral formation process, the spiritual formation program at Everest includes learning to respect the Pope as the leader of the Catholic Church and an important spiritual figure in the world. The young man acting as pope wears a papal robe costume complete with a zucchetto
Nathaniel Akroush as Pope Francis
(beanie). He is escorted by his classmates in a pope-mobile style wagon, and travels around the school to bless all of the students. The students generally respond with the popular cry of the crowd at the Vatican, “Viva el Papa!”

To prepare for Pope Day each class at Everest, from the 3-yr-old preschoolers to the eighth graders, learn more about the role of the Pope and the person himself.  They watched two movie clips about Pope Francis, including photo collages from the time he was young.  They also learned what the Pope does and some personal things about him, such as his favorite sports -- basketball and soccer, his favorite dance, which is apparently the tango, and his favorite virtue -- humility. 

To see photos and a brief story about Nathaniel in the Catholic New World newspaper, click here.



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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