In Discussion with Pope Francis

Students from universities in the Americas met virtually with Pope Francis to lend their experiences, ideas, and questions to better the future.

One of the most powerful men in the world turned to college students for help.

On a Thursday morning in February, Lorena Delgado-Márquez ’22 was one of more than 100 university students from throughout the Americas to log into a special Zoom meeting. She was about to meet—and get to speak directly to—his Holiness Pope Francis. The Church wants to learn from its members what it should be—and this discernment via internet connection was part of a larger, ongoing universal synod.

The students, most of whom are migrants or are from migrant families, prepared questions for the Pope, and representatives from each region asked them directly during the call. Marquez was one such representative. Two other Broncos were on the call: Antonio Amore Rojas ’23 and Marco Tulio Martínez Salazar, S.J., a JST doctoral candidate in sacred theology.

When Márquez spoke to the Pope, she discussed socio-economic inequalities and lack of educational opportunities for migrants and their children. While the Pope acknowledged that the problems are tough, “we have to give concrete answers to young people,” he said.

The back and forth was real. “It was a genuine conversation between the Pope and students,” Márquez says. Working with other students who also do justice work was invigorating. “We are so interconnected—we have the same struggles and same hopes for the future,” she says.

And that’s something Pope Francis says he’s depending on. “The mission of university students is to leave the world in a better state than the one in which you live,” Pope Francis said. “People will say, ‘You are young, you are idealistic’. No. Don’t accept this.”

These connections laid through the Church and shared mission can help make things better.