Pope Benedict XVI - Essays and Reflections on His Papacy

Bringing Him a Piece of Home

Bringing Him a Piece of Home

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Archbishop of St. Louis

I have had the privilege of meeting His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on three different occasions—at the Pallium Mass in 2009, a general audience in October 2008, and a private meeting in the spring of 2006. It was then that I had just finished a pilgrimage from Germany to Poland, and among the places visited was the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI in Marktl Am Inn, Germany. Stopping in Rome on the way back to the United States, I had the opportunity to meet with the Holy Father; but, because the meeting was not planned, I had nothing to give him. Looking through my luggage, I noticed a small booklet, bearing an official stamp, from the parish where he was baptized. It was immediately obvious he was not familiar with some of the pictures, and a tender moment occurred as his eyes captured that precious time in his life. It is that same joy and tenderness that he shares with you each time he meets you in crowds large and small.


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“From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Benedict has sought to build bridges of friendship between the Church and the Jewish people.”

Father James Massa