Sidney native meets pope


By Alexandra Newman - anewman@aimmedianetwork.com



Pope Francis greets newlyweds during the general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Pictured hugging the pope is Katie Staudt Wester with her husband Michael Wester, of Chicago.

Pope Francis greets newlyweds during the general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Pictured hugging the pope is Katie Staudt Wester with her husband Michael Wester, of Chicago.


VATICAN CITY — When Katie (Staudt) Wester and her husband Michael were planning their honeymoon, they didn’t realize they’d get to have such a special moment with the man who symbolizes Christ on Earth.

“We were going to Italy on our honeymoon anyway and we heard that the pope did special blessings for newlyweds during his Wednesday audience,” Katie said.

So Katie and Michael woke up early and waited in line for four hours. With them they brought a cross for Pope Francis to bless, that now hangs in their home, and Katie’s veil she was married in back in July.

Katie said they ended up very close to the front of the audience with several other newly married couples and at the end of his talk he ended up coming over to the section they were in.

“It’s customary when you meet him to shake his hand and kiss his ring, but I just felt moved to hug him and give him a kiss. So it was a special moment,” she said.

An Associated Press photographer captured the moment in a photo that was shared around the world.

“The experience was generally humbling. To meet the man who represents Christ on earth, as a catholic, in such a joyful and loving way, was a beautiful experience,” Katie said.

Katie grew up in Sidney and graduated from Lehman Catholic High School. Her and her husband now live in Chicago.

Pope Francis will be in the United States until Sunday evening. During his stop in America he addressed congress, visited several churches, national monuments and the White House.

The last papal visit to the United States was in 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI met with President George W. Bush at the White House, celebrated mass at both Washington’s Nationals Park and in New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and visited the Yankee Stadium.

Pope Francis greets newlyweds during the general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Pictured hugging the pope is Katie Staudt Wester with her husband Michael Wester, of Chicago.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2015/09/web1_AP-PhotoGregorio-Borgia.jpgPope Francis greets newlyweds during the general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Pictured hugging the pope is Katie Staudt Wester with her husband Michael Wester, of Chicago.

By Alexandra Newman

anewman@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN