Saint Anselm Community Travels to Philadelphia to See Pope Francis

Saint Anselm students at Papal Mass

At three-thirty on the dot on the morning of September 27, 2015, 54 students, faculty, and staff boarded a double decker bus in pursuit of the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis. The short trip, spanning only 24 hours, resembled a modern day pilgrimage: the participants sacrificed sleep, routine, and a normal weekend for a chance to gain a glimpse of the Pope.

Last week, Sept. 21-25, the Saint Anselm College community watched as Pope Francis traveled from Washington D.C., to New York City, N.Y., to Philadelphia, Penn. The main event on Sunday, Sept. 27, on the last leg of the visit, was a Mass for the Family, focused on the aspect of the modern, varied family, celebrated by the Holy Father himself.

Saint Anselm students at Papal MassThe 4 p.m. Mass was scheduled a mere 12 hours after the participants left Saint Anselm College. The group arrived in Philadelphia, Penn. at noon, parked, and made their way into the center of the city. When they finally reached The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where they hoped to be able to enter the inner crowd closest to the Pope, they found the area unfortunately already full.

However, even from far away, the group was able to celebrate the beauty of the Mass. A few blocks away, they were still within earshot of the echo of the speakers and the incredible choir.

Director of Campus Ministry, Susan Gabert described the experience of Mass saying, “Just being at a Mass led by our shepherd the Holy Father, with 1.5 million others – singing hymns, praying the our father, exchanging the sign of peace. It was so moving. Such a tangible example of the universality of our Catholic Church.”

Participant Kayla Patten ’17 said, “Holding hands while singing the “Our Father’ was one of the most moving experiences of the entire trip.”

The Pope’s homily proclaimed by the modern day Prophet, focused on themes of community and love. As Gabert explained, “He said ‘Holiness is always tied to small gestures…love shown by little things.’” She continued, “He called us to action of love in our homes, in our society, asking ‘what kind of world do we want to leave for our children?’”

While many predicted that the Holy Father would focus on heated issues, he chose to expound on the message of the coming Year of Mercy, which will focus on the idea that "No one can be excluded from God's mercy."

Participants connected their experience to the Pope’s message. “We were able to take this opportunity to recognize ourselves and others together as part of God's family, seeing one another not as strangers, but as sons and daughters of Christ, made in His image,” said Jenny Richard ’17.

Many, including Campus Minister Andrew Fellows commented that this Pope makes him very proud to be a Catholic.

“If you ask me, going to see the Pope is definitely a once in a lifetime experience,” said freshman Braelyn Croteau, who hoped this opportunity would help her connect with God another way.

“He is the closest path to God, and praying with him will only strengthen my prayer. I am humbled that I was in his presence.”

The trip was sponsored by the generosity of the college chapter of the Knights of Columbus.

This amazing opportunity is truly an example of our Patron, Saint Anselm’s eternal message of “faith seeking understanding.” This opportunity to live out the Benedictine tradition of the Catholic Faith is priceless to our own Anselmians but to all who were able to attend.

Game Time: SIFE Present at Nationals

SIFE Nationals (May 11, 2009) Hundreds of miles from campus, Saint Anselm College’s SIFE chapter prepares to introduce Philadelphia to a taste of Benedictine hospitality.

Sharply dressed in matching blue shirts and black suits, the team resembles seasoned business professionals as they huddle outside the presentation room. Moments before game time, co-president Tom Cullen offered final words of encouragement and Dr. Fitzpatrick led a team cheer.

Rooted in business etiquette, SIFE competition is highly structured. The team has exactly 24 minutes to describe the chapter’s service projects and impact in the local and international community, followed by a brief question and answer period.

After the team introduced themselves to each of the 12 judges, Cullen began the presentation, describing the demographics of the Saint Anselm College community.

The presentation touched on projects such as Pennies for Peace, micro-lending, the Relay for Life, and the winter warm coat drive. SIFE’s endeavors raised over $10,000 to construct a school in rural Afghanistan, provided loans for struggling entrepreneurs in developing nations, supported the American Cancer Society, and collected second-hand coats for poor children, respectively.

SIFE Nationals (May 11, 2009) Each student spoke with conviction, emphasizing the chapter’s commitment to establishing sustainable projects and lasting relationships with the community.

Additionally, the team highlighted future projects, such as next year’s partnership with Heifer International, supporting a holistic approach to combat hunger around the world.

Nick Provost ’10 described SIFE’s significance around campus, mentioning SGA’s recent appropriation, Crier articles, and the paparazzi (yours truly!) shadowing the team during the team’s adventure in Philly.

Outside the presentation room, the weight lifted from the team’s shoulders is evident. The team agrees their execution could have been sharper; yet, they continue to hope the judges will acknowledge the scale of their projects and the chapter’s progress.

Although the presentation is complete, the day is far from over. The group scoped out the competition and checked out the career fair, before heading to the opening rounds awards ceremony.

After wearing restricting heels and ties all day, the SIFE team is already salivating, dreaming of dinner.

Read about the SIFE team's first day in Philadelphia and their win at regional competition.

Additional photos are available on our Flickr photo sharing site.

Crunch Time in Philadelphia; SIFE Prepares for Competition

SIFE Nationals (May 11, 2009) "We can advance," repeats SIFE faculty advisor, Dr. Fitzpatrick, as he observes his team. National competition, the day Saint Anselm College's SIFE team has spent the year anticipating, has finally arrived.

Around 1 p.m., the team will present their SIFE projects in front of a group judges, hoping to advance to the semifinal round of competition for the first time in the chapter's history.

Crowded into a hotel room, the group continues to polish their presentation. To an outsider the scene may seem chaotic, but after spending a day with the St. A's SIFE team, I know better.

Each team member understands his or her specific role during the presentation. Michael Conley '10 continues to tweak the PowerPoint presentation, adding pictures and bullets from SIFE's recent Maxed Out: Credit Card Debt and Financial Literacy Symposium, while Will Combes '10 prepares to present in his first SIFE competition. The rest of the team perfects their oral execution.

Dr. Fitzpatrick observes the group rehearse the presentation, reminding the team their projects convey the extraordinary success of the young chapter. "We are so far ahead of where I thought we would be 3 years ago." SIFE's membership on campus has grown to over 40 members. In accordance, the team continues to launch new projects.

The team's projects positively affect local communities in the Manchester area, such as Junior Achievement Titan, a program designed to engage high school students in the practice of business ethics and entrepreneurship, while Pennies for Peace supports the Central Asia Institute's mission to educate children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

SIFE Nationals (May 11, 2009) The SIFE team's broad range of projects, their widespread impact, and their sustainability demonstrate the chapter's growth. Dr. Fitzpatrick is optimistic the team's efforts will be acknowledged with the opportunity to advance.

After a brief trial-run, he encourages his team to "Dial it up a notch," reiterating his mantra "We can advance."

Read about the SIFE team’s first day in Philadelphia and their win at regional competition.

Additional photos are available on our Flickr photo sharing site.

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Compete in Nationals

SIFE team with Dr. Fitzpatrick in PhiladelphiaWhile most Saint Anselm College students have packed up their dorm rooms and moved home for summer break, the college's SIFE team is taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Philadelphia, Penn. as one of 137 colleges qualified to compete at SIFE's 2009 National Exposition.

I, Jenn Goonan, senior English major and former communications intern, have joined the Saint Anselm group on their trip to Philly to capture all the action as it happens. Check back throughout the next two days to hear all about the group's competition or check out the photos on Flickr.

The team of eight, Thomas Cullen '09, Christine Connolly '09, Nick Rich '09, Meredith Shepard '09, Katie Bruce '10, Nick Provost '10, Will Combes '10, and Michael Conley '10, led by faculty advisor Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, will be in Philadelphia May 10-12 competing against colleges and universities from around the country.

Arriving Sunday, the team spent the day touring the City of Brotherly Love, checking out Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's infamous steps (the same steps Sylvester Stallone ran up in boxing movie Rocky), and of course, the group had to indulge in the one and only, Philly cheese-steak.

Rally of Champions After touring the city, the team joined thousands of college students at the Philadelphia Convention Center for the annual Rally of Champions. Mike Conley, junior business major from Hopkinton, N.H. represented Saint Anselm by carrying a Saint Anselm College sign across the stage behind the New Hampshire state flag.

During the rally, SIFE also acknowledged the faculty advisors, including Dr. Fitzpatrick.
Various speakers energized the students, including SIFE Alumnus of the Year Mr. Tony Dickinson of Wells Fargo & Co. Dickson encouraged students to network and accept failure as a learning experience. The rally's keynote speaker, the Honorable Edward Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania, opened the exposition, noting the students' accomplishments and wishing them luck.

The trip is about more than sight-seeing and networking though, and the group is presenting Monday at 1 p.m., so Sunday evening was all about preparation and perfecting their presentation.

Although everyone appeared on edge as they worked out the presentation's kinks, adjusting to describe new projects and new results, Provost promised "Tomorrow will be like clockwork."