The Pope gave Durham a shout out and then we kissed him

Frankie says relax

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Papal authorities gave Durham Uni a shout out as two students met with Pope Francis, and got a selfie.

The massed people in St Peter’s Square were told: “From England an ecumenical group of theology students, from Durham University” were there.


Thea, Hannah and their mate: the Pope.

Later Hannah Burley and Thea Burton were taken to meet the Pope where they were blessed and able to kiss his ring.

Surprised second year Thea Burton said: “I was watching how everyone else was greeting him and they were kissing his ring. I thought I best do the same, when he took my hand to greet me.

“He didn’t look silly, he looked official. However, the thought crossed my mind that any stains on the garment would be difficult to remove.”

Hannah, a fresher, said: “He definitely seemed like an incredibly friendly man; this can be demonstrated not only in how he met everyone else, but also in his driving around the crowds in an open-topped ‘Popemobile’ before the audience began, which was lovely to see.

"He didn't look silly."

‘He didn’t look silly’

“Meeting him was a bit of a shock: we weren’t certain it would happen until he came down the steps and started chatting to everyone behind us.

“It was positively terrifying but also bloody brilliant at the same time- we were both very aware of how lucky we were.”

The trip had been organised by the theology society but the Papal meeting was in no way planned.

Despite her pro-LGBT views, Thea said: “In the moment it felt so surreal. Since the meeting It has prompted me to reflect on my personal beliefs.

“However, my background, being brought up as a Roman Catholic meant that it was still an experience to meet the head of the Church which influenced me to study my degree.”

Be careful not to stain

Be careful not to stain

The two were then given rosary beads, which had been blessed by the Pope.

Thea told us: “They weren’t shoved into our hands, but were handed to everyone in little pockets who had met the Pope in the disabled seating area.”