In early August, 2013, the Duluth News Tribune interviewed the Papal Artifacts’ Expert about his upcoming EWTN special, The Papacy, A Living History. What follows is the content of that interview.
The Eternal Word Television Network, or EWTN, sent a crew to Duluth in May 2012 to film Kunst and his collection. He is joined by another priest from the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, the Rev. Ryan Moravitz.
“It went really well,” Kunst said.
He was contacted after the live interview and was asked to make a proposal for a series based on his artifacts.
“They bit on it,” Kunst said.
The five-part series, called “The Papacy: A Living History,” will air at 2 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will also be made into a DVD, with proceeds going to the school at Kunst’s church — St. John the Evangelist.
“The (live) show was very well-received,” Kunst said in a message to EWTN viewers. “Within a 36-hour period of the presentation, the Web site received over 135,000 hits from all over the world. There are now 30 pages on the Internet connected to PapalArtifacts.com.”
The series is divided into five parts and begins with “Popes Benedict XVI & Blessed John Paul II.”
Kunst met Pope John Paul II several times and will show one of his caps and a walking stick. The other four segments will feature items from other popes in the 17th through 20th centuries.
“I am very excited to share this collection with a wider audience,” Kunst said.
“I have always had a purpose in collecting these artifacts: to educate the faithful about both the structure of the Catholic Church and the popes specifically. … It has always been my hope and desire that my passion for the popes will lead others to the same love for and interest in our Holy Fathers, from Peter to Benedict XVI.”
For those who’ve seen the collection through television or the Internet, some new items will be revealed in the series. Among them are an Agnus Dei wax disk from Clement IX and Benedict XIII, the last purificator used by Paul VI three days before he died, a rosary belonging to Benedict XV and one of the earliest picture books from the late 1700s containing copper engravings of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome before it burned to the ground.
Kunst had a show of his items in Duluth in 2004 but the collection has doubled since then, he said.
Moravitz is a good friend who will ask Kunst about the items and then lead a discussion.
If the show is well received, EWTN said it would consider more shows, Kunst said.