VP candidate Paul Ryan attends Mass in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE — St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte had a surprise visitor for the 7:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Newly-named Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan attended Mass with one of his children and a Secret Service contingent.
Celebrant Father Andre Mangongo, parochial vicar of St. Gabriel Church, said he noticed the sunglasses and ubiquitous ear-pieces of the Secret Service agents as he was greeting people before Mass.
"He walked up to me and said, 'I am Representative Paul Ryan, and this is my son,'" recalled Father Mangongo. "I welcomed him to the church, congratulated him on being chosen and told him that we would be praying for him."
Ryan told the priest that he did not want any special attention. Father Mangongo said the VP candidate sat in the middle of the church among other early morning worshippers.
Father Mangongo's sermon focused on the Gospel proclamation by Jesus that He is the Bread of Life. No special prayers or recognition was given to Ryan.
During the Mass the Secret Service agents stood at the entrance doors watching the congregation.
Ryan received Holy Communion in the hand, and after Mass he thanked Father Mangongo and hurried off to a Republican Party rally in Mooresville.
Parishioners were abuzz with the news that a newly-minted political celebrity was in their midst. Several expressed admiration that even though Ryan is in the glare of the national political spotlight he had an obvious priority to attend Sunday Mass.
Said Father Mangongo, "We are open to everybody who comes, they are all our sons and daughters, we minister to them. Everybody is welcome in the Church."
— David Hains, Director of Communication
Pictured: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, walk with Ryan's daughter Liza to the Romney campaign bus after Ryan was introduced as Romney's vice presidential running mate during a campaign event in Norfolk, Va., Aug. 11. Ryan, a Catholic, chairs the House Budget Committee. (CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)
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