This past weekend George Clooney (and his wife, Amal Clooney), Salma Hayek and Richard Gere were presented with an award, the “Olive Medal” of peace, from Pope Francis in a ceremony that took place at the Vatican. Even movie stars get excited when given the opportunity to meet the Pope and from the smiles on their faces, we can only assume that it was their turn to be “starstruck”!

All three of the celebrities have agreed to be advocates for an initiative that Pope Francis began in 2013 known as Scholas.  Scholas Occurrentes is an international organization that is now present in 82 countries and serves over 400,000 schools.  Through the use of technology, arts, and sports, Scholas works “to promote social integration and the culture of encounter for peace” among youth.  Be sure to visit their website to learn more about the wonderful  and exciting work they are doing in order to build bridges and establish peace among thousands of youth coming from many different cultures and backgrounds.

Watch some of the video footage of the interactions between Pope Francis and these famous stars.

The social media posts from Salma Hayek, as well as Scholas Occurrentes, further show what an honor and joy it was to be able to meet Pope Francis and partner with him in this great global initiative for youth.

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Questions for Reflection:

1.) Why do you think Pope Francis choice to honor these celebrities? How does it help Pope Francis and Scholas Occurrentes to have their support?

2.) Have you heard of Scholas Occurrentes before this? What can you do to support the mission of this organization?

3.) What do you think Scholas Occurrentes is so close to the heart of Pope Francis? Why are its programs needed in our world today?