University of St. Joseph students receive holy homework

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WEST HARTFORD -- At the University of St. Joseph, studying theology is must and on Thursday, so was watching history be made.

"Just kind of think to myself, Wow! I witnessed history and that was amazing," said Mackenzie Sullivan, who was among a group of students who listened as Pope Francis addressed Congress.

The watch party was credit for their religion class, "faith and theology in the modern world." Their instructor, a nun, relocated Thursday's session in front of a television at McGovern Hall.

"There's just something special and important about sitting down and actually watching it instead of you know, skimming a recap of it later," said Sullivan.

The pope's message truly hit home for some of Sullivan's classmates, like Ermina Udovcic.

"I did come here when I was 5. We were also refugees of war. I came from Bosnia," Udovcic said. "It's good to see such a prominent figure be that open and accepting because that was me once."

Those reflections will continue in the form of holy homework. Class ended with a papal paper assignment, but Udovcic and Sullivan didn't seem to mind.

"None of us have watched the Pope speak before so she wants us kind of to give our personal impressions of him," said Udovcic of the instructor's directive. "That's honestly going to be interesting."

Sullivan added, "In class, she's [the sister] been telling us the Pope is coming and this is very big and this is exciting, so it helps that you have somebody, a "professional" that would kind of break it down for us so it's easier for us to process and to appreciate."