DANBURY, Conn. — For Danbury resident Katherine Tucker, Pope Francis’ visit brings her back in time.
Tucker met Pope John Paul II, who served as pope from 1978 to 2005, when she was a student at the University of Notre Dame. She had an unusual and memorable experience while studying abroad in Rome in 1993.
The seminarians who conducted the campus ministry were able to get the group of students into a Papal Rosary, which was held in a small chapel inside the Vatican.
Tucker was sitting next to a friend, who had just seen Pope John Paul for world youth day in Colorado. When her friend saw the pope, she blurted out, "Hi Pope! I saw you in Denver,” Tucker recalled.
He smiled and replied, "Ah, you're American,” Tucker said.
Tucker said the pope was kind and warm in his response, and that’s what she always remembers — his kindness.
So as Pope Francis heads to New York, she recalls that fond memory.
“Pope Francis' visit makes me think back to that time,” Tucker said. “This pope has connected to people, I believe, because of his love and compassion for all people, and I think that is why it is such an exciting time having him visit the United States.”
But while Tucker wasn’t able to make the pope’s visit this time around, she expects his message will be welcomed.
“I hope that his message of compassion is heard and received, not only by Catholic Americans but by all,” Tucker said. “This time I won't have the opportunity to attend an audience or get anywhere near, but I do plan to listen, and to be inspired as I was so many years ago.”
Tucker works at Danbury Children First, a nonprofit that provides education and information for parents and advocacy for children. She is very active in her church and her children's school at St. Mary's in Bethel.
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