All Saints students choose pope
By Wendy Foster For The Sun March 20, 2013 4:48PM
Papal Conclave at All Saints Academy in Naperville on Friday, March 8. The children in the red capes are Cardinals. Photo submitted by All Saints Academy
Updated: April 23, 2013 1:38PM
The student body of All Saints Academy in Naperville selected a new pope well before the plume of white smoke announced the official selection from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.
On March 8, the students held their own Papal Conclave, electing Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley from Boston. Although their selection didn’t align with the official Papal Conclave, it was an important learning process for the students, according to Patty Bajek, director of student services at All Saints.
The conclave was coordinated by junior high math and religion teacher Kathy Moore, who said that she wanted the kids to have the opportunity to participate in what is a very rare ceremonial event.
In preparation, Moore crafted red capes for students enacting the role of Cardinal. She also selected about a dozen “front-runner” candidates, including those she felt were representative of various ethnicities for the students’ consideration.
“Basically a smattering of everyone. We had a candidate from Argentina, but he wasn’t the right one,” she said.
The junior high students researched the selected candidates and created posters for each. Moore also created a Power Point presentation for the students, providing information about the conclave and the candidates.
“One of the younger students told his mom that we talked about the Sixteen Chapel rather than the Sistine Chapel. It’s funny what they hear, and what they take away,” she said.
The junior high students spent additional time researching the process so that they could help officiate the conclave, according to Bajek.
Moore said that she tied math into the learning process, as the students discussed the two-third-plus one majority rule and determined how many votes were needed for someone to be named pope.
The junior high school students as Cardinals, escorted the younger students to the gymnasium for the conclave and assisted them in voting. The students replicated the authentic process, complete with prayer and genuflection. Moore admitted the way that the youngest students voted was less than scientific.
“I had one little kindergartner who said he wanted to vote for ‘the one that looked like Santa Claus.’”
At the end of the day the school principal announced All Saints’ elected Pope, Cardinal O’Malley. Days later, the kids had the opportunity to watch the official Papal Conclave as it was live streamed into the classrooms.
“All of the kids were really excited about Pope Francis,” Moore said.
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