“NEWT’S WORLD” MEETS “JOAN’S ROME”: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH JOAN LEWIS
Today, Easter Sunday, marks the launch of “Cookies with the Pope,” Episode 11 of Newt’s World, the weekly podcast from Newt Gingrich. I was honored beyond telling when Newt told me months ago that he was launching a podcast and wanted me to be among his first guests.
The Gingriches and I have known each other for ten years – amazing, wonderful, enriching years of friendship, mutual discoveries, remarkable adventures, and memorable meals. Even more memorable perhaps have been the myriad stories we have shared, always harking back to the fact that it was a Pope who brought us together, St. John Paul II, a Pope about whom the Gingriches made a documentary, “Nine Days that Changed the World,” and a Pope for whom I made chocolate chip cookies!
Newt and I share some of those stories on this week’s podcast. The podcast will remain up on his site, as you will see, so that you can listen today, tomorrow, or next week and beyond!
Click here to listen to the podcast, read my bio, see a gallery of photos of my moments with John Paul II, listen to a trio of the hundreds of TV appearances and radio interviews I’ve done over the years for EWTN, and get my recipe for chocolate chip cookies! Scroll all the way through this link to access everything.
Let’s make this go viral!
The photo in the slide show on the right side of the screen, a photo where I am kneeling in front of Pope John Paul and wearing a blue skirt and blue and black jacket, was the last time I ever saw him – December 14, 2004.
The then head of the Holy See Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, had asked the Pope if he would receive the staff of the press office to mark Joaquin’s 20th anniversary as Vatican spokesman.
John Paul’s health had declined significantly but he never was one to say ‘no’ and so he welcomed all of us that day. Among other things, it was a struggle for the Holy Father to raise his head.
When I learned of the audience I went online to learn how to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Polish. I found the Polish words as well as a phonetic pronunciation, wrote those down on a small post-it note and had that in my left hand the whole morning, reading it aloud several times before going to the Apostolic Palace.
We were privileged to meet the Holy Father one by one. When it was my turn, I glanced for a last time at my Polish notes, knelt down before the Pope and wished him Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. He raised his head and for what was to be the last time, his blue eyes met mine.
After the meeting, Joaquin told me that was the most beautiful gesture I could have done. “Do you realize,” he asked me, “that you were the only one for whom the Pope raised his head?”
And for the second time that morning, my eyes filled with tears.