Pope kisses baby with Northern Michigan heritage
A kiss from dad, a kiss from mom, and of course, a kiss from grandma. For baby Reese Elizabeth Karam, kisses are just an everyday part of growing up. But this kiss -- is not one you get every day.
"When we tell other people this story they are just in awe," said Shirley Petersen, Grandmother to baby Reese. "They say, 'Wow! Do you know how rare that is?' And I say, 'oh, I guess you're right!'"
For Shirley Petersen, it's a kiss she can't help but tell everyone in her home of Cadillac about. After moving to texas in June to persue a career as a college professor, Shirley's daughter, Joy Petersen-Karam, along with her husband, Jared and baby Reese, took a trip to Rome for a wedding in October of 2012. And on a regular Wednesday afternoon, they all headed to St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City to sit, and possibly get a glimpse of Pope Benedict.
"While they were sitting in the rows they noticed there were a couple available seats in the front row, so the father went up to the usher and said, 'you know, my daughter and her husband just got married. It'd be a wonderful wedding present if you'd let them sit in the front row,'" said Shirley Petersen.
Reluctantly, the usher explained the front seats were strictly for diplomats... But, on second thought:
"He looked, and he saw Joy, Jared and the baby," said Shirley Petersen. "And he said, 'But you know what? The Pope loves babies!'"
And so, abandoning his Pope mobile, Pope Benedict gently kissed baby Reese.
"The Pope was gracious and touched her and blessed her and wanted to kiss her," said Shirley Petersen. "He put his hands on her face and kissed both of her cheeks and blessed her."
All was well, with camera flashes and smiles, but sooner or later, in typical baby fashion...
"All of a sudden, the usher (when the pope was done), picked her up and was swinging her around... and she was saying, 'help!' like, 'what's going on here?,'" said Shirley Petersen. "She began to fuss a little bit... like a normal baby would!"
It's a memory the Petersens and Karams will never forget, but when Shirley talks about the Pope blessing baby Reese: "My husband's response is, 'you mean Reese blessed the Pope... because everytime you touch a baby, aren't you truly blessed?'"