When in Rome

Posted April 13, 2005 at 5:57pm

In 1989, then-Rep. William Gray led a Congressional delegation through the Middle East. In addition to stops in such places as Egypt and Israel, the CODEL went to Rome for an audience with Pope John Paul II, who passed away April 2. The above photo shows Rep. Nita Lowey shaking hands with the pontiff as her husband, Stephen (center), and Rep. Mike McNulty look on.

During the audience, the pope shook hands with each member of the group, but Gray was the only one who spoke.

“It was a great thrill to meet the pope,” said McNulty, who attended the funeral. “That was the only time I actually physically met him.”

Lowey echoed the thrill of the meeting in a statement.

“It was a great privilege to have an audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II,” she said. “Our delegation left that meeting in awe of his tremendous compassion and inspired by his unwavering commitment to alleviating poverty and fostering peace.”