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St. John’s University Student Kimberly Mangru Front and Center for Papal Mass of the Epiphany in Rome

Pope Francis celebrates the “Mass of the Epiphany” at the Vatican on Jan. 6 (left). St. John’s University senior Kimberly Mangru sits front and center for the Papal “Mass of the Epiphany” in Rome, Italy (right).
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A crowd of worshipers gathered at the Vatican in Rome, Italy on January 6, 2016 to watch Pope Francis lead as celebrant for the Mass of the Epiphany. Little did St. John’s senior Kimberly Mangru, student in the College of Professional Studies, know she’d be ushered to the front row for this special occasion during a two-week study abroad program between her winter and spring semesters.

The Mass of the Epiphany, a celebration of the three kings and their journey, was celebrated ceremoniously with a high sung mass. This day is also known as the 12th night whereupon a visit to baby Jesus by the Wise Men is revealed. These three Kings traveled with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  

When Pope Francis arrived to the throng of worshipers inside the Vatican for the Mass of the Epiphany, he softly kissed the statue of baby Jesus.  The Pope emphasized the example of the three kings in the universal prayer. He accentuated that Jesus was a true God and we should always worship him with utmost pride.

“The Pope reminded us that the Lord guides history to its true fulfillment and inspires us to seek the authentic good of every nation and the good of every individual,” said Mangru. “Mass at the Vatican was truly an uplifting experience and such an honor and privilege for me to be in the presence of the Pope.”

A chance meeting with Pope Francis up close and personal has left a lasting impression on Mangru and a new outlook on life as she heads into her final undergraduate semester of studies. Additionally, a student intern in the Office of Community Relations at St. John’s Queens campus, Mangru considered this momentous opportunity one of the most gratifying in her life.

“A chance like this for me was one in a million. I was thrilled to be selected to witness history happening right in front of me,” added Mangru. “I want to thank St. John’s University for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime and a moment I will never forget.”