U.S. synod delegate receives papal permission slip to cut class


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The youngest member of the synod assembly is confident that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Synod of Bishops, but to get out of class he looked for a little extra help from the pope. Wyatt Olivas, 19, is an undergraduate at the University of Wyoming, and for a month he has been seated with cardinals, lay Catholic leaders, bishops and religious to discuss the future of the Catholic Church. Although he had met Pope Francis early in the synod, he went up to the pope again Oct. 25 and asked him to sign a letter to excuse him from classes for a few days after the assembly ends Oct. 29. So, he thought, "what if the pope signed something, I think that would be really funny and I think it would kind of help me out a little bit too," he told Catholic News Service Oct. 26. Olivas said when it was his turn to greet Pope Francis, "I thanked him for inviting me and inviting young people." And then he told the pope: "I have some classes I have to get to and I don't know if I'm going to make it. Do you want to sign this letter?" After the pope was given the letter, "He's reading it and he just starts laughing," Olivas said. "So he starts writing, in little letters he writes 'Francis.'"