This group of pilgrims is smiling for a good reason: after months of anticipation, they have finally arrived to see Pope Francis.
Studying in Ireland, these two Nigerian priests never thought they would make it to Rome, until a parish family gave them an unexpected Christmas gift.
"It’s a lifetime opportunity, they just offered us to come to Rome. I may never have the opportunity to come to Rome again. Pope Francis is someone who has passion for the poor. He doesn't believe in the life that you have to exaggerate yourself, he is a big man up there, but he tries to associate with the lowly, the less privileged, the poor. He has passion.”
His classmate was also unable to contain his laughter, struck by the magnitude and emotion of the event.
"To have an opportunity to see the pope, to listen to him. It's an experience that is worth it. An experience that everyone is looking forward to. I am so happy I had that opportunity to listen to Pope Francis, someone who speaks from the heart.”
Prepared to take these messages back to their pastoral work in Nigeria, their hosts are also ready to carry the Holy Father’s words to Dublin, in light of his 2018 visit. What does he believe the country needs most?
"Faith. It is to bring the Word of God to us, and to encourage us to live our faith as we should. We'll give him a great 'cead mile failte', which is 100,000 welcomes and we look after him well.”
It’s these moments that are so special about Pope Francis’ General Audience: they create unforeseen bonds.