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Gabelli Student Delivers Fordham Wisdom to Pope


When Pope Francis celebrated a Mass on April 15 commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Fordham student Michael Chelala was among the faithful gathered at the Vatican.

Thanks to a family connection (his uncle is Raphaël François Minassian, Archbishop of Eastern Europe Armenia and Georgia), Chelala, a junior in the Gabelli School of Business, was able to meet the Pope, as well as the president of Armenia. Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham made sure Chelala did not greet the pope empty handed: He passed along a copy of Church and Society: The Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007  (Fordham University Press, 2008), by the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, the Laurence J. McGinley Chair in Religion and Society.

Chelala said the pope displayed an interest in the book, because Cardinal Dulles was a Jesuit like himself, and because the two men were both elevated to the rank of Cardinal on February 21, 2001.

“We weren’t expecting the events to pan out the way they did, but it was amazing to be at the center of what soon was to explode around the world,” Chelala said.


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