Pope Francis held a virtual audience on Monday with Americans in three cities not included in his historic trip to the United States later this month. Although the full, hour-long special on the virtual audience will not be available until Friday, ABC News has released several excerpts of the virtual audience.

And the Pope’s time with one student in Chicago is especially moving.

17-year-old Valerie Herrera was one of two students from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago selected to speak with Pope Francis during the virtual audience. Herrera told the Pope she experienced bullying in middle school because of her rare skin condition. She confided that she found strength and comfort in music.


The Pope then asked Herrera – in English – to sing him a song. The request caught Herrera off-guard and Pope Francis offered some gentle encouragement.

“Be courageous,” he said with a smile.

Herrera sang the Pope the Marian hymn “By You, Mary” in Spanish.

Watch the touching moment between Herrera and the Pope for yourself! The exchange begins around minute 1:35.