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


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.

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