Cristo Rey system embodies Francis' vision

Not long before Pope Francis arrived in the U.S. last fall, the Vatican and ABC News orchestrated a virtual audience with the pope for three places that he wouldn't be visiting. One of those places was Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, where senior Valerie Herrera recounted her experience with bullying.

In a moment that TV producers dream of, Francis responded to her story by looking directly into the camera and gently asking, "May I ask of you to sing a song for me?"

Tears in her eyes, Herrera did.

It was the type of tender, spontaneous moment that kept so many people riveted during Francis' visit to the U.S., as he dined with homeless men, blessed a disabled boy on the tarmac and encouraged schoolchildren to sing louder. But his gestures are more than journalistic gold. In such moments of human connection, Francis models an example of compassion that everyone can emulate. 

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A version of this story appeared in the Feb. 26-March 10, 2016 print issue under the headline: "Cristo Rey system embodies Francis' vision" .

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