One high school senior from Ridgewood will get the chance of a lifetime next week after being selected to meet with Pope Francis during his visit to New York.
Danielle Armato, 17, who has lived in Ridgewood for most of her life, was chosen as one of 12 Catholic high school seniors from across the city to be on hand when the Holy Father makes an appearance at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem on Sept. 25.
“I got a letter from my school one week before school started and I wasn’t sure what it was about,” Armato said. “When I opened it and saw that I had been chosen to meet the pope I actually screamed. I jumped up and down. I was very excited.”
Armato is a senior at Cathedral High School in Manhattan where she is involved in various religious activities. She has been an altar server since the fourth grade and is currently the president of the campus ministry at Cathedral. Armato said that members from the Diocese visited schools looking for eligible seniors to be at the elementary school when Pope Francis drops in.
“My principal selected me because of my good grades and my participation in the church,” Armato said. “I am the president of the campus ministry. As president of the campus ministry I’m always helping to collect food and clothing, especially with the holidays coming up. I help set up our in-school retreats and I am responsible for planning our out-of-school senior retreat. I love being a part of the campus ministry because I’ve met many amazing people.”
Armato said that she and the 11 other high school students will be responsible for walking Pope Francis out of Our Lady Queen of Angels School when he is finished speaking with the elementary school students.
“I would say, ‘Thank you for everything that you have done,’” Armato said she would tell the pope. “I want to ask the pope to bless my grandmother for her 75th birthday. When I told [my grandmother] that, she cried of happiness.”
“The fact that he’s coming here shows that there is hope for New York, especially with all the bad things happening in the news, it shows that there is still hope,” she added. “I am personally shocked and humbled that I was chosen.”