Catholic schools all across South Florida are celebrating Pope Francis' first-ever visit to the United States with special ceremonies.
The Good Shepherd Catholic School in Kendall Lakes is one of them. In a special prayer ceremony held Wednesday morning, students dressed in the colors of the Vatican and offered special prayers for Pope Francis.
Franco Callejas, a third grader, even dressed as Pope Francis for the event. His mother, who also works at the school, told NBC 6 how much the visit means to her and to the students.
"The openness of our Pope to welcome everyone, it opens a door to more dialogue, more talk, more questions," Milly Briceno Callejas tells NBC 6.
Students expressed their hopefulness surrounding Pope Francis' visit, and what it means to them to take part in the historic visit, even from many miles away.
"I think it's cool that we get to pray for him," student Annabella Guerrero says. "Most schools don't have that opportunity."
"He's going to help us become a better country," student Emily Trueba said.
Student Sofia Diaz described the impact she believes the pope's visit will have, saying "I think he can definitely help those who may be running out of hope, who may be having hard times."
After the prayer ceremony, students returned to their homerooms where they tuned in to watch Pope Francis as he met with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House and delivered remarks.
Washington is the first stop on the pope's six-day, three-city visit to the United States.