Johnson County

Knoxville Bishop recounts trip to Vatican and meeting Pope Francis

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Bishop of Knoxville paid a visit to the Tri-Cities Thursday evening after a recent trip to the Vatican.

Bishop Richard Stika attended a confirmation ceremony at St. Mary's in Johnson City.   

We caught up with him to learn more about the new leader of the Catholic Church.    

Bishop Stika called Pope Francis a very warm and engaging person.

"The last time I spoke to him, at the end of the conversation in English, he said to me, 'Please pray for me.'  So I would say whether you're Catholic or not, he's a leader of Christianity in many ways, and he speaks for peace and justice, and he speaks for the poor. So pray for him that he can continue his mission," said Bishop Stika.

Bishop Stika traveled to Rome last week as part of the Papal Foundation's yearly meetings there.    

He said he was able to celebrate mass with Pope Francis, and he believes the church has chosen an excellent leader.

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