Skip to main content

Out of left field: Duluth priest gets baseball signed by Pope Francis

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Father Richard Kunst of Duluth has what may be the holy grail of autographs after a recent visit to Rome – a baseball signed by Pope Francis himself.

It might seem as if Kunst simply had in his possession nothing better for the pontiff to sign when the two met, but the priest says there's more to it than that.

"The rarity and uncommon nature" of a baseball signed by a pope, Kunst told WDIO, may be an effective tool in reaching out to people.

"You can bring something like this out to people not interested in the faith and a signed baseball would still maybe speak to them a bit," he said.

The autograph left on the ball is true to the pope's humble and simple-living image – it says only "Francis," the Associated Press notes.

Kunst is a pastor at Duluth's St. John the Evangelist and at St. Joseph in Gnesen, according to the Diocese of Duluth.

He's not the only Minnesota resident with a memento from the pontiff. In 2013, Francis gave Minnetonka college student Katie Rich the "skullcap" – also called a zucchetto – right off of his head during a chance encounter in Rome.

Next Up

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here’s what the Vikings owners say about new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Vikings announced his hiring on Wednesday night.

raiaing canes brooklyn park crop

After 3-month delay, newest Twin Cities Raising Cane's opens

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in October.

st anthony armed robbery screengrab

Armed man robs Twin Cities thrift store, flees in carjacked pickup

He pulled out a handgun shortly after chatting with the cashier about his scarf.

red wing 6

Gallery: Pagoda-inspired home on Lake Pepin for sale for $2M

The home has 425 feet of private shoreline on the Mississippi River.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Plow 2 (1)

Photos reveal damage from gunshots to Minneapolis snowplow

A hydraulic line and three tires were damaged in the shooting.

unsplash - school classroom students

Minneapolis schools confirm return to in-person teaching Monday

The school district shifted to online learning almost two weeks ago as rising COVID cases led to staff and bus driver shortages.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Mineral leases for proposed Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters canceled

A review by the DOI found "significant legal deficiencies" with the leases' 2019 renewal.


Reward to find person who left kittens to die in freezing WI cold

The cats were thrown from a vehicle, according to a witness.

metro mobility bus

Charges: Man led police on multi-city pursuit in stolen Metro Mobility bus

The bus had been left unattended with the keys inside when it was stolen.

Bell Ramsey Co. Jan 22 - crop

Charges: Man fatally shot mother of his child during argument

Officers found her on the ground outside the couple's home.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 26

More than 15,000 new cases in today's update.