Two Manhattan College Students Set to Join Virtual Encounter with Pope Francis

As part of the current synodal process, Pope Francis will talk with college students on Feb. 24. 

Photos of Rebecca Kranich and Doriz YariAs part of the ongoing synod within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis will participate in a dialogue with university students across the Americas, including two Manhattan College students, on Thursday, February 24.

Rebecca Kranich ’24 (left) and Doriz Yari ’23 (right), will be part of the group who will share concrete educational projects, highlight the contributions of students who are themselves migrants and children of migrants. 

The students will deliver a presentation that seeks to justly transform the environmental and economic realities that migrants face and the ways their own education can contribute to positive change.

“It was an honor being chosen,” Kranich said. “It meant a lot that the Pope wanted to hear from students and the youth of the Church. He actually cares. It felt like I was given this great chance to do something that could have possible change. We’re going to be delivering a presentation that could actually make an impact.”

This Papal encounter is an initiative of Michael Murphy, Ph.D., director of The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University Chicago, and the head of office of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Emilce Cuda, Ph.D., the first woman head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, appointed by Pope Francis.

Anyone can participate in the livestream conversation on YouTube, which begins at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Kranich is a communication and political science major, a peace studies minor, an admissions tour guide, a student board member for the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center, and a writer for the Quadrangle.

A biology major with a pre-med concentration, Yari is treasurer of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society; secretary of the Tribeta Honor Society, and a participant in the January 2020 Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience (L.O.V.E.) social justice immersion experience in El Paso, Texas. 

The upcoming conversation with Pope Francis aligns with a strategic priority of Manhattan College’s Strategic Plan: to “enhance intentional engagement with our local, national, and global communities with an emphasis on our shared commitment to human dignity and our Lasallian Catholic social justice values.” 

In December 2021, Kevin Ahern, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies, was recognized by Pope Francis for his work in engaging the lay community in the work of the Church.

The papal encounter will be another opportunity for members of the Manhattan College community to directly communicate with the Holy Father and share ideas at the highest levels of the Church.

Kranich herself is seeking to create a roundtable talk after the encounter with Pope Francis to create a space for students and faculty to share experiences and discuss recognizing each other’s similarities and differences within the Church and around the world.

By Pete McHugh