Catholic school students celebrate the life of Pope John Paul II

The last few days have been a time of prayer, reflection and celebration of the life of Pope John Paul II for the students and staff of Rockland County’s Catholic schools.

A number of prayer services, including the rosary, and memorial masses have been organized in the county’s Catholic schools this week.

Students at St. Paul's School in Valley Cottage are to pray the rosary for John Paul II each day, culminating in a memorial Friday. Students at Immaculate Conception School in Stony Point will also attend a memorial mass.

The students at Albertus Magnus High School discussed the Pope's legacy and death in religion and psychology classes, reported The Journal News. The staff also created a small shrine to the Pope in the school lobby, and the sign outside the school read: "In loving memory of Pope John Paul II 1920-2005."

Student Pat Volpe, 17, told The Journal News that he thought the Pope was an “influential person” and “a role model” for youth. "As kids we always looked up to him,” he said.

Another senior at Albertus High School, Maura O’Hagan, considered Pope John Paul to be “a really, really holy man.”

“It's very sad that he died — we've been watching him slowly deteriorate — but nearly everyone honored him,” the 17-year-old was quoted as saying. “I think while he was Pope, he did an outstanding job involving all sorts of people in the Catholic Church whether they were Catholic or not and regardless of age."

The Archdiocese of New York has organized a special mass at 1 p.m. today at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan for children from the Catholic schools.

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