SDSU mourns Pope John Paul II

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Though Pope John Paul II lived an ocean away, effects of his death Saturday have rippled around the world, reaching even SDSU.

Father Paul Rutten, chaplin of SDSU’s Catholic Campus Parish (CCP), had the chance to meet the Pope several times.

“I went to school in Rome so I spent four years there and met the Pope on a variety of occasions,” he said.

Rutten has even assisted in presiding over ceremonies at which Pope John Paul II was present.

“I was a deacon; I got to assist at a Mass with him,” he said. “I also got to go to Mass and read for him.”

These and other interactions gave Rutten a more intimate knowledge of the Holy Father. He said he felt the blow of the news of John Paul II’s death.

“I was deeply saddened yet joyful,” he said. “It’s still kind of sinking in.”

Sister Joan Marie Brandner, a CCP staff member, said she saw the Pope in Detroit in 1987 and again in St. Peter’s Square a year ago and was impressed with him each time.

“He was a spiritual leader that had his face turned toward the world,” she said.

In addition to his love of other countries and cultures, the Pope held another group in esteem.

“He definitely will be remembered for his love for youth,” Brandner said.

One of those youth is Ashley Schulte, a sophomore pre-nursing student from Sioux Falls. Schulte got the chance to see John Paul II in Toronto in 2002 at World Youth Day, which John Paul II created as an outreach to youth. She plans to go to Germany this summer for the next such day and hopes to see the new Pope.

“This is the only Pope I’ve ever known, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the new Pope being elected,” she said.

“It’s sad that we’re losing the leader of the Church yet rejoicing that he’s in a better place.”