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Meeting the Pope: El Paso native describes the experience and whether or not to correct the Pope if he's wrong

By Leonard Martinez
Published On: Feb 11 2013 07:54:46 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 05:03:37 PM CST

Courtesy Mauro Diaz

Pope Benedict XVI greets El Paso native Mauro Diaz, right, and his wife Vanesa after a Mass at the Vatican in 2006.

EL PASO, Texas -

Italy would be a beautiful and memorable place to visit under any circumstance, especially for a honeymoon.

Being able to get an audience with the Pope in the Vatican is not an easy task and makes the trip extra special.

In Aug. 2006, El Paso native Mauro Diaz and his newlywed wife of two months, Vanesa, were lucky enough to attend Pope Benedict XVI's Wednesday Mass. Arriving early, they were able to secure front row seats wearing their wedding attire as tradition required of them.

The Pope personally greeted some of the attendees, including the Diaz's.

"He said 'Hey, Italiano,'" said Mauro, a Hispanic, who didn't know if he should correct the infallible Pope. "And I kind of agreed with him. It was the moment, I kinda mini-panicked. I said 'si' in Spanish. I didn't know how to react."

Mauro said the Pope seemed in good spirits and in good health.

"The fact that he spoke kinda floored me," Mauro said by phone from Dallas, where he and his wife live. "He spoke as a typical man of that age. But he seemed like a normal, senior gentleman."

The Diaz's also were able to visit a special part of the Vatican.

"We walked into where all the previous popes were buried and it's kind of a solemn moment," Mauro said. "We stopped in front of tomb of Pope John Paul II. That was a big moment."

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