CNA/EWTN News is reporting on the experience of Leslie Knopf, an American from Louisville, Kentucky who is earning her licentiate in Internal Church Communications at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
Knopf, who also serves as Communications Director for Catholic Bytes and director of Misericordia Media, said she didn’t know until the day before that she had been selected to go to the Pope for confession.
“It was a total surprise,” she told CNA, explaining that she was selected due to her involvement with Misericordia Media.
“Pope Francis practices what he preaches when he speaks of being a tender father in the confessional,” she said, adding that he was very intentional in understanding where she was coming from.
“It was the most private audience you could ever have with the Pope, because no one would interrupt us, it was just one-on-one to be able to receive the mercy of God in that moment,” she said.
Throughout the confession, she felt “completely comfortable” being herself, and that she and the Pope even shared a few laughs over some Italian words she had difficulty pronouncing. The Pope, she said, “was fully present to the needs of my soul.”
“It was a true experience of mercy, which is not merely saying that everything is okay, but truly a call to conversion.”
Knopf was one of several people who were given the opportunity to confess to the Pope during his annual “24 Hours for the Lord” event which took place on March 4 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
During the confession, Pope Francis gave her general advice which she can apply to all areas of her life.
“He said that when discerning the will of God, it is really easy – you just have to ask and pray and he will let you know. So ask and pray to the Lord every step of the way and he will let you know as it comes.”
Calling the experience “beautifully normal,” she said that “it really put into perspective that I’m meeting Christ in the confessional . . . and my preparation should reflect that regardless of who is acting as his representative in the confessional, whether that be a first year priest or the Vicar of Christ on earth.”
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