NE Iowans to greet pope in D.C. Waterloo & Cedar Falls Iowa News. April 5, 2008:
Jim and Cecilia Mudd of Cedar Falls, devout Catholics, had the opportunity to meet the late Pope John Paul II and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.
"It's a peak experience without question," said Jim Mudd Sr. "You are looking into his eyes and they look back at you as if they are looking right through you. They are piercing eyes.
"You don't know what to say other than 'Pray for me.'"
The Mudds, along with the Rev. Jim Starbuck of Waterloo, will join others from Northeast Iowa and across the country in greeting Pope Benedict on his first visit to the United States April 15-20 as head of the Catholic Church. The pope is scheduled to make multiple stops in New York and Washington, D.C.
Thousands plan to share Mass with their pope at Nationals Stadium and at Yankee Stadium. The Mudds and Starbuck, however, say they are blessed with a unique privilege. They have tickets to see the pope April 16 when he greets President Bush on the White House lawn.
"Maybe we'll get to meet both," Cecilia Mudd said.
One-on-one time with either would be an honor for the Mudds, though they place the pope at the top of the wish list. Jim Mudd Sr. said he is thrilled about the trip in general.
"We are just humbled by the invitation," he said.