Schoolchildren learn about St. Francis of Assisi

Pope Francis may have left town but his namesake's message continues as the Francis in the Schools program brings a day of fun activities to hundreds of New York schoolchildren. After watching a musical about St. Francis's life at a nearby church, 800 giggling third, fourth and fifth graders arrived at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx Monday for a day of puppet shows.

Having already shared this traveling Renaissance-style fair 17 times with inner-city neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, the program was invited to New York City by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

The inspiration for all this merriment is St. Francis of Assisi and the work of the program's founder, Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, who started the initiative in the California city named for the Saint. Some of the children say that this is the happiest day of their lives.