As they waited for history to unfold, students at St. Fabian Catholic School giggled over emojis of the pope eating a burrito and standing in front of the U.S. flag. Principal Sharon Szuba held up her smart phone and explained how to follow the Holy Father on Twitter.

An air of excitement filled the quiet church in Farmington Hills Thursday morning as 104 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders and their teachers gathered to watch Pope Francis speak to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Students were prepped beforehand on what he might talk about, and then told to relax and listen.

“Enjoy the moment,” said Szuba, but pay close attention because after they would be assigned to draw pictures depicting the pope’s vision for the world or write a short essay on his message.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you can hear your pope, in your own country, say what he believes about your faith,” said Madison Konja, 12, an eighth-grade student following the address that was livestreamed on the school’s new Promethean ActivPanel computer board from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

“He said our past has affected our moments today and if we forgive them, we can start a new history, like a new beginning,” Konja continued.

Asked to sum up the pope’s message, Konja said: “That we should always give each other a second chance and always try and bring goodness into the world and, like, conserve our world that He (God) gave us.”

Teachers from English, social studies and religion classes worked to turn the moment into a personal one for their students.

“It impacted a lot of lives today,” said English teacher Kim Kerwin.

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