Area woman ‘ecstatic’ about trip to Rome
At any age, Basehor resident Anna Mary Landauer would have been thrilled to see the Pope.
But at 87, she's ecstatic.
In June, Landauer traveled to Rome and she did, indeed, see Pope Benedict XVI.
"It to me was a very great honor and something that I didn't think I would ever be able to see in my lifetime," Landauer said.
Landauer, and 119 other travelers, left for Italy on June 21 and returned home July 2. Trips can be grueling for tourists, no matter their age, said Landauer, who thought she was the oldest person in her tour group.
"I prayed all the time that I was gone that I would be able to take in everything," said Landauer, who is a member of Holy Angels parish in Basehor.
Joyce Klingele, Basehor, also went on the trip with her husband, Gene.
"The purpose of the trip was to see Archbishop Naumann receive his pallium, and it was a pilgrimage," Klingele said.
A pallium is a narrow circular band of woolen cloth worn around the shoulders of the pope and archbishops when they are in their own archdiocese.
Pope Benedict XVI presented the pallium to Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who became archbishop of the Kansas City diocese in January when Archbishop James Keleher retired. Keleher also made the trip to Rome.
The group included 120 people, most of them from the Kansas City area, or from the St. Louis area where Naumann lived before moving to Kansas City, Kan.
Those on the trip were able to see Pope Benedict XVI three times.
"We were at a Mass with him when Archbishop Naumann received the pallium," Klingele said. "The next day there was an audience just for the people who came for the pallium reception. There were 31 bishops who received palliums, so all of their guests got to attended an audience with the Holy Father."
And, they saw the Pope give the Sunday noon blessing from the balcony of his apartment.
Landauer said the group left the hotel before 9 a.m. and found a place in the shade in view of the pope's balcony.
By noon, Vatican Square was crammed with people. Landauer described the packed crowd to "putting all the pencils you could put in a glass."
"We were so far away from it we didn't get to hear all of it," Landauer said. "But you can see the hand when he gives the blessing."
It was a moving experience for Landauer.
"I just felt real elated," Landauer said, recalling the experience. "I just wanted to be quiet for a few minutes."
"When he came to the window, people burst into tears," Klingele said. "I did too."
It impressed her that there were so many young people in the crowd, she said.
"And I was just absolutely amazed by the outpouring of love for him," Klingele said.
And, she said she was glad to have seen the pope the other times during the trip.
"When you get close, you can see the twinkle in his eyes," Klingele said. "He's just a very kind, gentle person."
The Klingele's son Brian Klingele, 29, who is a priest, also went on the trip. Klingele, who pastors churches in Garnett and Greeley, studied four years at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. And while there, his parents made three trips to Rome to visit him. This was their fourth trip.
Joyce Klingele, who is secretary for Naumann and Keleher, said some of those who were on the trip have written letters.
"The archbishop has gotten messages from people saying, 'This was the most spiritually enriching time of my whole life, I'll remember it forever,'" Klingele said.
She said she agrees with the positive comments she's heard, and is quick to credit Naumann.
"His spirituality and humbleness affected the entire group and set the tone for the whole trip," Klingele said. "His determination was that it was to be a time that we could draw closer to Jesus and the church, and it certainly was."
For Landauer, too, the trip, which included stops at the other major cathedrals in Rome, was memorable.
Landauer, a former Basehor mayor and city council member, said she was thrilled that she was able to make the trip.
"I'm happy that I did at my age," Landauer said. "I didn't know when I got over there if I was going to be able to take it all in, but I did -- I never missed anything."