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Few people have the privilege of a private audience with Pope John Paul II. One who did was journalist Tim Russert, NBC News Washington Bureau chief, Meet The Press moderator, and former altar boy. This was his experience:

I’ll never forget it. I was there to convince His Holiness it was in his interest to appear on the Today show. But my thoughts soon turned away from NBC’s ratings toward the idea of salvation. As I stood there with the Vicar of Christ, I simply blurted, “Bless me, Father!”

He put his arm around my shoulders and whispered, “You are the one called Timothy, the man from NBC?” I said, “Yes, yes, that’s me.” “They tell me you’re a very important man.” Taken abasck, Russert said, “Your Holiness, there are only two of us in this room, and I am certainly a distant second.” The Pope looked at me and said, “Right.”

It’s always wise to know your place.

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