Here is the story:
In the year 2000, Father Kunst traveled to Rome with his parents for their first visit. They had the opportunity to attend a private Mass with the Pope and to have a private audience with him. They waited for him in his office. When Father Kunst introduced his mother to the Holy Father he said, “This is my mother who is Jewish.”
The Holy Father responded, “A Catholic priest with a Jewish mother: beautiful!”
After this quick interaction, Cardinal Dziwisz (at the time, Bishop Dziwisz), the Pope’s private secretary, approached Father Kunst’s mother grabbing her hand and saying, “Are you really Jewish?” He acted as if in disbelief. She said she was, obviously affirming it.
Afterwards, Mrs. Kunst wrote Cardinal Dziwisz a letter thanking him for the opportunity to meet the Holy Father. He responded and said it was a great thing to have her. The next time she wrote to him, she ask him if he would ask the Holy Father to sign Crossing the Threshold of Hope, a copy Father Kunst had gotten at a bookstore.
Cardinal Dziwisz was able to orchestrate this.
Some months later he returned the book to Mrs. Kunst signed by the Holy Father.
All of this was a result of Father Kunst’s mother’s correspondence with the Pope’s secretary.
A very wonderful story.
Visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view all items connected to Saint John Paul, including first and second class relics.
Saint John Paul, pray for us!
The book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II, was published in 1995.
This copy was signed by him on February 15th, 2001.
Bishop (now Cardinal) Dziwisz was the secretary to Pope John Paul II during the visit in which Father Kunst introduced his parents to the Pope. Afterwards his mother, Dorothy Kunst, corresponded with the bishop thanking him for his kindness. He responded to her with a very kind letter of his own.
Dear Mrs. Kunst,
I read your kind letter with much interest. You are to be highly commended for the many sacrifices and for the untiring efforts put forth to rear seven children in the Catholic faith even though you are a Jewish mother.
It is good to hear how you treasure the fond memories of participating at Mass with the Holy Father. I’m happy that this opportunity was yours.
As we commence the third millennium I invoke God’s
abundant blessings upon you and your husband, your priest
son and the members of his wonderful family.
A few years ago, Father Kunst was leading a pilgrimage to Rome where he encountered (now) Cardinal Dziwisz presiding at Mass at the altar of Pope St. John Paul II. the Cardinal was gracious enough to share these moments with Father Kunst.