Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Take 5Three times each year, myFaith reporters have a chance to speak with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki about anything young adults want to know – send a question to be asked anonymously in the next issue to The archbishop recently sat down to talk with myFaith Staff reporter Tracy Rusch, who shares his responses, edited by myFaith Staff, below.

1. You’ll be present at the canonization of Pope john paul ii, do you have a favorite memory of being with/around him?

My favorite memory is meeting him at the North American College, and it was on Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22. JPII especially, always kind of set the stage, so he’s going over to the North American College and meeting the priests in graduate studies, as well as the seminarians, his kind of first visit to the college, and he chose Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday. The North American has these long corridors, so we’re all lined up and literally the pope was coming to you, and when he approached, in Polish I said, “Praise be the name of Jesus Christ now and forever,” which is a normal greeting that Poles will give to a priest. And he looked at me and he says, “Oh, so you speak Polish.” And I said, “No, I speak a little Italian.” So, I went into Italian … So, this tremendous interchange with an individual, and you got a sense, and I think he carried that with him all throughout his pontificate, that he cared about you, that he was talking to you personally. That same kind of feeling you got every time he was addressing a crowd of 100,000. You thought he was talking to you personally. And often times many things he was saying were kind of difficult and philosophical, but he had this connection with people that was always just phenomenal. And no one, and I mean this in the best sense, played a crowd like JPII. I mean he just had that ability. He was like 58 when he assumed his office, basically a young pope, and he’s globetrotting the world and he’d be coming down planes, kissing the ground, so you knew his youthfulness was going to make him popular, but then you kind of thought, well, as he gets older like we all do, he’s going to lose that connection; he never did, and even into the late stages of his debilitating disease, he was still making connections with people. 

2. If i were traveling to rome with you, what would you recommend i visit?

You’ve got to do the major basilicas. You’ve got to do St. Peter, Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major — you just have to do that. And you’ve got to do all the major things like the Colosseum. There’s so much in Rome that you better be willing to be there a couple of years to cover everything. 

But I would say another interesting thing is the fountains of Rome — the Trevi Fountain, the fountain of the Piazza Repubblica, the Fountain of the Four Rivers that’s the Piazza Navona. Those are places where people congregate usually in the evening after you’ve finished your cappuccino after dinner, and you do a little walking. So, in the evening, we’d be walking over to one of the fountains, either the Trevi or Piazza Navona, and that’s after a great meal at one of the restaurants, and usually not the known restaurants, but the restaurants that become the favorites. 

One of my favorites would be the Abruzzi, and there you have carbonara – the best carbonara in all of Rome – and the other is a place just outside of Rome called Cecilia Metella’s, which is St. Cecilia’s. Cecilia Metella is the name of St. Cecilia’s family, Metella, and there’s a restaurant right across from the catacombs there and it’s beautiful because it’s in a little garden type thing, but they serve a pasta there called scrigno and it’s a green and white, kind of real thin fettuccini noodle and it’s served in a cream sauce covered with baked cheese. 

Rome is an exciting city. All the major things, of course, you do, but you discover little off things that nobody else might know about that you basically claim as your own. And it’s true that once somebody’s gone to Rome, they want to go back.

3. I’ve seen many green bay packer fans dressed as “packer bishops.” what do you think? Is this something fans should be proud of or upset about?

Fans are fans. I’m fully expecting after Green Bay makes its petition to try to get Pope Francis to come there, there will probably be popes dotting the landscape of the Green Bay stadium, done in papal garb. It’s kind of a way to celebrate who they are in relationship to it. I don’t see it as a way of mocking. And you know the difference between when somebody is using it to mock rather than when somebody is using it to celebrate. I see it basically as fans celebrating; they’re celebrating their love for the Packers with their connection to the church. 

4. Many parishes and catholic organizations use social media as a form of evangelization (posting videos to youtube, having active Facebook pages, priests tweeting) – how do you see the church embracing new media?

It’s actually coming in two ways. It’s going to be individuals who are technically proficient who are going to be able to use it, and, obviously, our younger priests, especially, already are into it. So, they’re going to be using Twitter. They’re going to be using Facebook and different things like that, and then there’s going to be kind of a little bit more of the organized, which is probably going to lag behind what’s being done by individuals. 

When you talk in terms of organized, it’s how a diocese is going to use these instruments of social media – that’s really key, and how much time it devotes to that in terms of the mission that a diocese has. So, the church, in general, has fallen quickly behind the world in social media, and so it always has a lot of things to pick up, but before you criticize the church, it’s been around for 2,000 years. It’s going to be around until Jesus comes back, so although it may move at a little bit more of a snail’s pace in relationship to modern technology, what it does, it usually does it well. 

So there’s a period of time when now in the different aspects of technology and social media, the church is learning how to use this in evangelization, stewardship, promotion of information and that’s true for us in the archdiocese as well. 

5. what do you hope younger catholics contribute to the synod?

Enthusiasm: There’s no better way to experience enthusiasm of faith than being around young Catholics, and they’re excited by the relationship with Christ. They see this thing that they want to accomplish, the mission that they want and so the first thing is enthusiasm. 

I hope that they bring their ideas also associated with those things that they are using, the instruments they have – social media would be one – and they have a sense of already using that dynamic in a particular way. 

That young Catholics kind of bring their sense of priorities going into the future, because in 10 years, they’re not going to be the young Catholics any longer. They’ll be the Catholics in their mid-30s and 40s and so hopefully they’re looking now at what they wish, and they hope and plan for in the future. So, I look to have them bring their enthusiasm, bring their creative ideas and their talents, and the ability to kind of share those ideas with the community.