Rome, Italy, Oct 1, 2011 / 10:29 am
John Wayne, for many, was a Hollywood legend who symbolized true masculinity and American values. To Fr. Matthew Muñoz, though, he was simply "granddaddy."
"When we were little we'd go to his house and we'd simply hang out with granddaddy and we'd play and we'd have fun: a very different image from what most people have of him," Fr. Muñoz told CNA on a recent visit to Rome.
Fr. Muñoz was 14 years old when his grandfather died of cancer in 1979. In his lifetime, "The Duke" won an Oscar, the Congressional Gold Medal and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of all those achievements, though, Fr. Muñoz is most proud of just one – his grandfather's conversion to the Catholic faith.
"My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world," said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.