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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan, Chestnut Hill, Mass.) - Thousands of miles from the Vatican, students at Boston College learned they now share a connection with the pope.
The university was founded by Jesuits, the same religious order as Pope Francis. Francis is the first leader of the Roman Catholic Church to be a Jesuit.
"There is a brotherhood thing," said Father Joseph O’Keefe. "That, even though there are 18,000 of us in the world, there is something about the family member that becomes pope. It is just very exciting."
The Jesuit community is known for their missionary work and involvement in education.
"He brings that appreciation of the role of Catholic education and that makes me very happy," O’Keefe said.
The Boston College campus is home to more than 9,000 students. Some learned about the new pope through social media. Ryan Burns huddled around his television with his roommates.
"We were sitting around the TV and we were like, 'Who’s going to be the pope, who’s going to be the pope,'" Burns described with excitement.
Meg Stapleton Smith is a senior at Boston College and a member of the school’s campus ministry. She puts her faith in a more unified church in the future.
"All of our voices, from the poorest in Latin America, to the women, to the priests, everybody’s voice is equal and should be counted," Stapleton Smith said.