Loading
Rome visit deepens former NFL quarterback's faith
Rich Gannon takes part in a June 10, 2013 interview just outside of Vatican City. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.
Rich Gannon takes part in a June 10, 2013 interview just outside of Vatican City. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.
By David Uebbing
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- As he stood next to St. Peter’s Square, former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon reflected on how his family’s first visit to Rome deepened their faith.

The Gannons had been thinking about a trip to the Vatican for years and their faith has always been important to them, but the election of Pope Francis made things even more personal for Rich.

“I was really excited when Pope Francis became the Pope. I went to a Jesuit private boys high school in Philadelphia … so to have a Jesuit become a Pope was kind of special to me, having been trained by the Jesuits,” he told CNA June 10.

The former Oakland Raiders quarterback, along with his wife and two teenage daughters, spent a few days visiting the Eternal City’s churches and also got a chance to see the Holy Father.
 
“We had a private (papal) audience with 150,000 other people here in the square. … And even though it only lasted a couple minutes, we did get a blessing,” Gannon joked.

The importance of what the Church does to preserve and promote art also struck them and they signed up to become Vatican patrons of the arts.

“We’re learning more and more about what they’re doing to preserve so many beautiful pieces of art that have been left for us to be able to appreciate and enjoy as a family,” Rich Gannon said.

“The chance to come over here and see the restoration process, projects and the work they’re doing – I think it’s really impressive,” he remarked.

The trip also had an impact on Rich’s wife Shelley and his daughters Alexis and Danielle.

“To be able to do it as a family, all four of us together, it’s been a trip we dreamt about for a long time.  … it just strengthens our faith as a family so much,” Shelley Gannon commented.

Their oldest daughter, Alexis, agreed and said she hopes to grow “a little closer to God” through the trip, which also helped her glimpse “the future of the faith in Pope Francis.”

The Holy Stairs, which tradition says Jesus walked on as he faced Pilate and then went to his death after being scourged, were also on the Gannon’s itinerary. 

Danielle Gannon was most touched by going up the stairs on her knees, as many pilgrims do.

“There were actually windows on the stairs, which are covered with wood,” she explained.

“You could see the blood that Jesus shed.

“You could feel the pain of kneeling down on the stairs,” which made her think about “what Jesus went through for us to be able to save us from our sins,” she said.

Tags: Vatican, Sports, Pilgrimage, Year of Faith, Faith

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
21

Liturgical Calendar

November 21, 2014

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Gospel
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 10: 8-11
Gospel:: Lk 19: 45-48

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14