They have only known one pope in their lifetimes, and the realization that he has died is hard to comprehend.
“It’s almost like losing guidance, like losing light from a candle, and we are waiting for someone to pick up the candle and guide us,” said Chris Stecher, 18, a senior at Archbishop Murphy High School northeast of Mill Creek.
Archbishop Murphy students had different thoughts on the legacy of John Paul.
“He will be remembered for working for the culture of life and for clarifying church teachings and allowing more people to understand the church’s stance,” said Katie Lundberg, 17, a senior.
“I think the way he reached out to youths was amazing,” said Meghan Sweeney, 17, a junior. “He cared so much about them.”
Taylor Graff, a 16-year-old junior, said the pope was a unifying force.
“I think that he was able to unify all different kinds of religions was one of his biggest achievements,” she said.
Justin Ryan, 16, a junior, said the pope gave clear direction to the church, regardless of whether everyone agreed.
“They knew where he stood,” he said.
The Rev. Armando Guzman, chaplain at Archbishop Murphy, told students the pope was a humble man of prayer who led by example and had a special place in his heart for young people.
Over 26 years, five months and 17 days, the pope “confronted the powerful, comforted the downtrodden, championed human rights, asked forgiveness for the Catholic Church’s past mistakes … mended ecumenical splits and tried to lay the foundations for peace,” Guzman said.
Eric Stevick is a reporter with The Herald in Everett.