Maria Regina HS student from Yonkers invited to meet Pope Francis

Almost a year ago, Angelique Almanzasenior student at Maria Regina High School, had what she described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to virtually meet Pope Francis when she attended His Holiness’ Scholas Occurrentes Global Conference in Miami.

As a devoted Catholic who has always “admired the Pope’s humility, compassion and dedication to social justice,” it was unimaginable that the experience of meeting Pope Francis could be surpassed. But in just a few weeks, it will be: Angelica will be part of a select group of students from around the world.– and one of the only TWO students from the Archdiocese of New York who will have the chance to meet Pope Francis in person during his participation in the inaugural ceremony Scholas Summit of Meaning which will be held at the Vatican from May 21 to 23.

Angelica was invited to the summit in a letter she received recently from Maria Martha Barreneche, Executive Director of Scholas USA. Barreneche wrote to Angelica that “the summit represents a monumental step in the quest for greater understanding and enlightenment. This is the grand opening of the University of Sense, a visionary initiative conceived by His Holiness through Scholas Occurrentes, his esteemed foundation. »

Barreneche added: “Your unwavering dedication to the principles espoused by Scholas USA and your exemplary contributions to its noble cause have not gone unnoticed. It is therefore with the greatest respect that we cordially invite you to apply for this valuable opportunity to represent Scholas USA on the international stage.

Since her freshman year, Angelica has been actively involved with Scholas, an organization founded by Pope Francis that encourages students from all backgrounds to come together and discuss meaningful topics and service projects. Additionally, the famous all-girls Catholic Maria Regina School was one of Scholas’ pilot schools in New York.

This experience had a profound impact on Angelica. She noted, “Scholas not only taught me how to change the world, but they also empowered me to become an agent of change. Their commitment to education, empathy and action inspires me today. I am grateful for the invaluable lessons and opportunities they have given me, and I am determined to use my knowledge and skills to contribute to a better, more compassionate world.

Recently, Angelica had the honor of delivering the “Words of Gratitude” at the Archdiocese of New York’s Class of 2024 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which highlighted the importance of Catholic education. She spoke to an audience of more than a thousand of her peers who will graduate this spring from high schools in the Archdiocese of New York. The mass was celebrated by Timothy Cardinal Dolanarchbishop of New York.

Maria Carozza-McCaffrey (Class of 1999), Principal, said, “It is a tremendous honor for Angelica to represent Maria Regina and we are incredibly proud of all of her incredible accomplishments in academics, service and leadership. You continue to make us proud! »

When Angelica returns from Scholas’ historic session, she will graduate with honors on May 31 during Maria Regina’s annual graduation exercises. She will continue her education at the University of Connecticut studying animal science as part of a pre-veterinary track. She lives in Yonkers.

To learn more about Maria Regina High School, visit