Friday, July 20, 2012

"I Had Tea with the Pope"

Last Sunday yours truly had lunch with two gentlemen who many years ago met Venerable Pius XII. It was an honor to chat with them. Both agree he was saintly.

One of them, a Czech, met Pius XII a few times while a student in Rome at the Collegio San Giuseppe. He explained that his class would visit the saintly Pontiff each year, in private audience. And that in one photo of the encounter, he is seen clutching the cassock of the man in white.

The second man, and Englishman, is today 91. He was a captain during WWII. He fought in North Africa, Sicily, Cassino, and liberated Rome on June 4, 1944, making him miss D-Day. In fact, he was chosen to have tea with Pius XII in the Vatican gardens. He explained: "The pope spoke English. Although he spoke Italian with the monsignor there. Afterwards, I was known by the soldiers as the one who had tea with the pope!"

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