Meeting the pope is something many would place in the “once in a lifetime experience” category.
But local Catholic priest Vince Krische, chaplain emeritus at the St. Lawrence Catholic Center at Kansas University, met a pope for the second time during a recent trip to England.
Krische met Pope John Paul II in Vatican City in February 2005, and he briefly met Pope Benedict during a trip to England last week.
He didn’t get much of a chance to talk with the pope, but he performed the ceremonial kissing of the pope’s ring.
“It’s a lot closer than a lot of people ever get,” he said.
Krische said the trip was even more memorable as he was able to witness the beatification — the third of four steps in the canonization process — of John Henry Newman.
Krische had been studying the teachings of Newman, a 19th century Anglican scholar, since he arrived at the St. Lawrence Center in the 1970s.
Krische said Newman served as an inspiration for him, further affirming the need for theological education at colleges and universities.
“I became fascinated with him,” Krische said.
So when Krische received a call offering him the chance to honor Newman at the ceremony in England, where he’d also meet Pope Benedict, he jumped at it.
“I responded right away,” he said.
Krische left the United States for England Sept. 14 and returned Monday. He joined other priests and clergy, touring numerous historic landmarks in England.