RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two teenagers from New Jersey are back from an experience of a lifetime after being confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis, himself.
CBS 2’s Christine Sloan first spoke to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church students before they embarked on their trip to the Vatican. She then spoke to them exclusively upon their return from Rome.
Brigid Miniter, 14, and Anthony Merejo, 17, of Ridgewood are home with memories and pictures from the ceremony at the Vatican.
“It was like butterflies and it was like a happy butterflies. It was like Christmas morning kind of feel and you don’t want that moment to end,” Miniter told Sloan. “Walking up there wasn’t bad. I had my sister right behind me and I wasn’t shaky until I got to stand this close to him.”
Miniter and Merejo were the only two kids chosen from all of North America for the special honor in St. Peter’s Square.
Their face-to-face encounter with the pope lasted just minutes, but Merejo actually had a conversation with the Argentinian pontiff.
“I said in Spanish, ‘your Holiness, we are waiting for you in United States and thank you for this amazing opportunity you’ve given us,'” Merejo told Sloan.
So does the pope have plans to come visit America?
“No, he just smiled at me,” Merejo said.
The Vatican selected the Archdiocese of Newark, which then picked Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church for the special honor.
The students’ parents and sponsors also got to go.
“My parents came up to me after the ceremony and starting rubbing my forehead and grabbing some oil and blessing themselves,” Merejo told Sloan.
“I was so proud of them, I was proud of all the kids,” Brigid’s mother, Mary Miniter, told Sloan.
The students returned home with big smiles and autographed pictures of the pontiff.
Had they not been hand-picked to go to the Vatican, Miniter and Merejo would have been confirmed at their church this coming weekend.
Now, they will be leading the ceremony and telling their friends all about their amazing experience.
A total of 40 kids from around the world were confirmed by Pope Francis during the ceremony.
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