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2 N.J. Teens Headed To Rome To Be Confirmed Personally By Pope Francis

Anthony Merejo, Brigid Miniter

Anthony Merejo and Brigid Miniter of Ridgewood, N.J., are going to Rome to be confirmed personally by Pope Francis. (Credit: CBS 2)

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two New Jersey teens were set to embark Tuesday on the biggest journey of their lives – a trip to Rome to be confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis, himself.

Brigid Miniter, 14, and Anthony Merejo, 17, of Ridgewood, were thrilled as they prepared to leave.

“It doesn’t seem real at all. I am super-excited, though,” Miniter told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan on Tuesday.

“I just get goose bumps when I think about it – I am going to be in Rome, in the Vatican,” Merejo added. “Being in the Mass, and himself confirming me is very moving.”

The teens are among a group of 40 people from around the world who will be confirmed by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square this coming Sunday.

The Archdiocese of Newark was selected by the Vatican, and Miniter and Merejo are the only two kids from all of North America who were chosen to meet face-to-face with the leader of the Catholic Church.

“I’d love to say, ‘Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to meet you,’ and how grateful I am,” Miniter said.

“He’s a great guy; down to earth. He cares about the people,” Merejo added.

The Archdiocese of Newark called the monsignor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to tell him his parish had been chosen, and that he had only days to give them two names. Monsignor Ronald Rozniak said it wasn’t an easy decision.

“I prayed first, and I said, ‘Lord, send good ones,’ and He did,” Rozniak said.

Afterward, he put the names of teens from his parish on paper.

“I picked them out of a hard hat,” he said.

The teens’ families and their sponsors – Miniter’s sister and Merejo’s grandmother – will also make the trip.

Ironically, the two chose their confirmation names before the pope was even elected.

“I chose Francis of Assisi just like the pope about a month before. I liked it because he was humble and he liked animals,” Miniter said.

The teens will make it back in time to see their 224 class members at the parish be confirmed, and they said they may share some of the stories from Rome during that ceremony.

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