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
(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!”
|Nathaniel Akroush as Pope Francis|
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.
photos and a brief story about Nathaniel in the Catholic New World newspaper, click here.