Eating with pope is a permanent memory; the menu, not so much
MADRID — Lunch with Pope Benedict XVI was an unforgettable experience for 12 young people at World Youth Day. Just don't ask them what they ate.
"I wasn't very hungry," said Aurora Maria Almagro, 21, of Spain. "The food wasn't the most important thing. We didn't eat meat today because it's Friday."
Pictured: Pope Benedict XVI pretends to play a piano made out of cake after meeting young people for lunch in Madrid Aug.19. The pontiff was in Spain Aug. 18-21 for the celebration of World Youth Day. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
In what has become a World Youth Day tradition, the pope sat down for lunch Aug. 19 with a young man and young woman representing the host country -- Spain, in this case -- and a male and female each representing five continents.
Ten of the diners were chosen by lot from among the international volunteers who helped prepare World Youth Day. The young man from New Zealand and the young woman from Australia were chosen by their bishops.
The menu included a soup, a fish dish and ice cream, but the young people were not more specific.
Michelle Hatfield, a 22-year-old from Stafford, Va., called lunch "an amazing experience."
"The Holy Father is the father of the church and he guides us all. That's what lunch was like. It was like eating lunch with your family: your father and people you have been working with and really care about."
No one guided the conversation, she said, and no one decided who would talk next.
"It just came naturally. It's like eating dinner with your family: You all listen, you all talk, but there's no set structure."
Most of the conversation, she said, involved the young people telling the pope about their lives and about the lives of young adults in their countries.
Hatfield, who has been working in the World Youth Day office in Madrid for five months, said she really wanted to give the pope something from the States, "but I have nothing" and she couldn't go back just to get something.
The young people were seated at a round table with the pope and Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid.
Eva Janosikova, 28, of Slovakia and Ya-Chen Chuang, 25, of Taiwan sat on either side of the pope.
"It was awesome. I wasn't expecting that," said Janosikova, who was among the first to greet the pope and go sit down. She went to the far side of the table, assuming she would be next to the cardinal.
"We prayed. He sat down and he opened the menu, but it was upside down, so I was just helping him. It was really cute," she said. "He surprised me by his listening very actively and being interested in others."
Martin Leung-Wai, a 25-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, said the luncheon "has made my World Youth Day experience the experience of a lifetime."
"Having lunch with the Holy Father is something you tell your .... family and friends and future generations about," he said. When asked why he hesitated to say it was something you tell your grandchildren about, he said he was one of many at World Youth Day considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Leung-Wai also invited Pope Benedict to New Zealand.
"He was laughing," the young man said.
— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
New deacon welcomed at St John NeumannCHARLOTTE — Deacon Joseph Denzler has been granted faculties by Bishop Peter J. Jugis and has been assigned to St John Neumann Parish in Charlotte. Deacon Denzler was ordained for the diocese of Brooklyn in New York on May 23, 2009. A native...
CRS CEO Woo visits Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High PointHIGH POINT — "The work we do is in your name," Dr. Carolyn Woo told parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point May 20. "Your presence is what we bring into the world." The special visit from the president and CEO of Catholic...
College students spend weekend 'awakening' their faithKING — A group of Catholic students from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently held their first Awakening Retreat at Camp Hanes in King. Aided by Raleigh's Catholic Campus Ministries and...
Postcard from Kingston: My impressions of our parish mission trip to JamaicaKINGSTON, Jamaica — I was feeding a young boy named Paul, who couldn't speak or use his limbs. He was sitting in a chair and I was in a child's chair beside him. As I began to feed him I could see his eyes following me, and it was at that...
'Yankee' turned Southern pastor reflects on 60 years as a priestALLEGANY, N.Y. — Sixty years ago on May 14, 1953, Monsignor Thomas Walsh was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro. Just a few short years before, Monsignor Walsh didn't even know anything about North Carolina....
Nuns get on the bus for immigration reformCHARLOTTE — The nationwide "Nuns on the Bus" campaign by members of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby led by Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director, will stop in Charlotte Friday, May 31, to highlight the urgent need for...
Military Mass planned for July 7CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter J. Jugis will celebrate a Mass for U.S. military personnel at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. The Mass and rosary (to be recited at 3 p.m.) will be offered for all military personnel...
Catholic Charities celebrates new nameCHARLOTTE — Dr. Gerard Carter, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, formally Catholic Social Services, introduced the agency's new name and logo at an unveiling ceremony May 17 at the Pastoral Center in Charlotte. Forty...
Belmont parish hosts community shredding eventBELMONT — A Community Shredding Fundraising Event was held May 4, at Queen of the Apostles Church in Belmont. According to event organizer, parishioner George Burazer, the event had several aims: to provide people with a convenient way to...
Sunshine, smiles light up Belmont Abbey College graduationSavannah bishop encourages grads to be excited about their faith BELMONT — At 8:55 on May 11, their last morning as students of the Benedictine-run Belmont Abbey College, 364 graduates gathered one last time to join the monks for prayer....
Dozens of youth confirmed at St. Ann ChurchCHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter Jugis confirmed 28 youth from St. Ann Church on May 13 at 7 pm. He spoke to the confirmands in his homily, telling them, "God the Father has chosen you this evening to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in...
New Redemptorist parochial vicar joins Concord, Kannapolis parishesCONCORD — Redemptorist Father Aldrin Christopher Roswell Nunes has been appointed parochial vicar at St. James the Greater Church in Concord, effective April 23, Bishop Peter J. Jugis recently announced. Father Nunes will serve both St. James...
Renewing roots in charityLearn about the new Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Since 2005 we have celebrated Catholic Social Services Week. Each year this week provides an opportunity for our parishioners to become more...
Charlotte seminarians graduate from Pontifical College JosephinumCOLUMBUS, Ohio — The second Saturday of May was a joyful day at the Pontifical College Josephinum, as the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy held its 114th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises. Diocese of Charlotte seminarians...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy