Vermont Priest in Rome for Historic Event

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(Host) A Vermont priest has been witnessing the historic events in Rome first-hand this week.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) The Reverend Maurice Roy is a Winooski native. For the past thirteen years he’s been pastor at Holy Angels Church in Saint Albans.

Roy is nearing the end of a three-month sabbatical in Rome. He’s one of twenty-eight American priests studying at the North American College, a short walk from the Vatican. Last Saturday, Roy was in the crowd that gathered at Saint Peter’s Square.

(Roy) “That’s when they announced that he had passed away. And you could see a lot of emotion – people crying. Even I got a little misty-eyed. And it was so quiet. So it was quite an experience.”

(Zind) Roy says he feels fortunate to be in Rome during such an historic time. Tuesday morning at four o’clock he stood in line to pay his respects to Pope John Paul the Second.

(Roy) “I did get to the Vatican to view the body and view the pope.”

(Zind) And Roy says the events of the past week have made him reflect on the church, his role as a priest and the late pope.

(Roy) “Yes, I think so. I think one of the things that has always kind of impressed me is that I read somewhere that he spends at least an hour a day or more in prayer. And it always astounded me that someone with all these responsibilities and the schedules and the things that he had would find time to do that.”

(Zind) Roy said he hopes to help offer communion to those who will be gathering for the Pope’s funeral on Friday. On Saturday, he’ll return to Vermont.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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