The role of Papal Secretaries at papal audiences was not a big role, there were protocols in place. We were taking the Holy Father to the library at the second floor, while another protocol related to bringing guests to the meeting. The Prefect of the Papal Household with another escort was leading guests to the meeting. Then, we were leaving the Holy Father in the library for the private conversations. Truly, we were there only during the formal introduction and after the meeting we were making sure that the correct gift is presented. Usually these were commemorative medals – silver or bronze, sometimes religious paintings – Saint Peter, Saint Paul. A Secretary needs to take off from the Pope’s shoulders these mundane matters, such as gifts for guests, so he would not need to worry about it. Anyway, he would not have the head to think about it.
– Was the Holy Father saying anything on the way to the meetings? Was he sharing his expectations, maybe fears?
– He always was going to the meetings in silence. He was not expressive. He did not share his expectations from the meeting and what he is afraid off. He did not wonder whether the meeting will be a success or not and what results would it possibly bring.
– Wasn’t he saying, for example: “I would like to convince him/her…” or “It will be difficult”?
– Rather not. He was always focused, concentrated. He was praying. Most likely, he was saying this to God.
– And, after the meeting? To Secretaries wasn’t he saying anything?
– Rather officially. The Holy Father spoke with the Vatican’s spokesman and to him he was giving updates from the audiences, which later on where published in to “L’Osservatore Romano”. However, by the face you were able to tell if the meeting went well, if the Holy Father is content and if from this flour there will be bread. Sometimes, it was better, sometimes not so well, but always some bread resulted from this flour.
With the consent of Archbishop Mokrzycki “He liked Tuesdays the most”
M Publisher, Kraków 2008