You didn’t know I could communicate in the Slovak language, right?

Neither did I, but there is an article in a Slovak paper called The Standard about Pope Francis’ trip to that country in September after a stop in Budapest to preside at the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress.

Bohumil Petrik, who used to be with EWTN in Rome, was back in town for a while over the summer and asked me for an interview for a Slovakian publication.  It was specifically on the making of a papal trip, the behind-the-scenes part, in view of Francis’ September trip.

I had researched papal trips years ago and have done radio shows and blogs on the result of that research: Of the many invitations a Pope receives, how is a destination chosen? How is a date chosen? What duties does an advance team have? What do they explore? How is transportation arranged? Is there a separate team that researches liturgical events? Where do Popes reside? Are there dietary needs? Etc, etc…

He sent me the following link a few days ago and told me the editor really liked the story. He had asked for a photo of me shaking hands with either Pope John Paul or Francis and, of the various pictures I sent, he chose one of me with John Paul II taken in Denver, Colorado at the 1993 World Youth Day!

Obviously I remember what I was asked and remember my answers and see they are faithfully recounted (the part I could translate). We spoke at length and I am guessing not everything is included but then I could not read the entire piece. As I read on, I got the impression you had to be a subscriber to read the whole article – at least that is what the graphics suggested that to me.

Using Google translator, I translated the title, the first paragraph and first Q&A. With one exception (I changed the pronoun he to she when it referred to me), this is what Google wrote:

HEADLINE: A special diet and perhaps unannounced meetings await the Pope in Slovakia, says an expert on apostolic journeys

What does the preparation of the apostolic visit look like? How is the pope’s liturgical garment transported? What will the Pope eat in Slovakia? In an interview with the newspaper Standard, Joan Lewis, who worked in the Vatican in the 1990s and saw the preparation of the apostolic journeys, answers this. The American journalist has lived in Rome for a long time and writes books, articles, and blogs about the Vatican, and comments on the pope’s life on television. She says that Pope Francis in Slovakia will certainly have a special diet and possibly private, unannounced meetings.

What is the significance of Pope Franciskov’s visit to Slovakia in September?

Every visit of the Pope is important because he comes to establish his brothers and sisters in the faith. This is very important at the moment, because after a year and a half of travel restrictions and after his visit to Iraq in March, he is traveling again. His arrival in Slovakia will be important to him, to the Church, to Catholics and to all citizens, because the Pope’s words and prayers are often good for all.

In any case, I hope the people of Slovakia found the piece interesting and informative!