Five children with disabilities will get to hang out (virtually) with the pope this week. Pope Francis will host a Google Hangout session (essentially a group video chat) on Thursday at 10 a.m. EST to promote education. The public can watch the pope broadcast live from the Vatican on the Scholas Ocurrentes Google Plus page. He'll be joined by kids from Brazil, India, Spain and the United States, according to a Google blog post.
Thursday won't be the first time the pope, seen by many as the most modern pontiff in decades, has used Google Hangout to connect with children. In September, Francis held a Hangout session with teenagers from Australia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa and El Salvador to roll out school crowdfunding website Scholas.Social. Catholic news site Crux reported that Thursday's video conference will center around Scholas.Labs, which aims to solve education problems with technology. Scholas.Education, a third project that develops virtual classrooms, is also in the works.
Those platforms and both video chats came by way of education group Scholas Ocurrentes. Launched by the pope in 2013, the global network of schools works to improve education and integrate communities, especially those without many resources, according to its website. Thursday's video chat is titled "The Pope Builds Bridges by Connecting With Children."
Scholas Ocurrentes leader and Argentinian headmaster José María del Corral told Crux that Pope Francis believes that children hold the keys to international peace. "He’s convinced that the world is in crisis and that the solution will come through education," del Corral said.
Pope Francis encouraged the children to have wings "to fly, dream, create" and roots "to receive the wisdom that the elderly give" in his 20-minute September chat. "Because of this, the future is in your hands if you have wings and roots," he said. "Take the opportunity to make it better."