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Locals get the chance to see Pope Francis during U.S. visit

09/22/2015 6:00 AM |

Sharon Sailor

Sharon Sailor of Mattituck, owner of Front Street Station restaurant in Greenport, views winning a trip into New York City to see Pope Francis as a sign of something larger than the experience itself.

Ms. Sailor won a News12 raffle for the opportunity to watch the papal motorcade pass through Central Park Friday evening, Sept. 25. That’s the same day her son, Paul Drum, will be appointed “Chief for a Day” by Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley at the Greenport Maritime Festival’s opening Land and Sea gala.

“I couldn’t even really believe it because I figured so many people probably entered,” she said. “What are the chances I was going to win?”

To her, winning is just as exciting as seeing the pontiff himself. And Friday’s date has yet another special significance for her as well.

Two-and-a-half years ago to the day, she launched her new business, having closed her previous venture, Dolittle’s in Mattituck, after 15 years.

The News12 raffle netted Ms. Sailor two tickets to the papal parade and, in an effort to pass on the good energy, said she will give the extra ticket to her church, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mattituck, so that another parishioner can also attend.

As it turns out, however, Ms. Sailor may not make it to the motorcade herself.

If traveling into the city means she can’t watch her son be named chief for the day, she said, she might donate her own ticket as well. But she isn’t upset about the chance she’ll miss seeing the pontiff, saying that just winning the tickets is a sign of good things to come.

“It’s more just the kind of luck I feel that everything is falling into place for me,” she said. “This is just a sign of everything good, so I’m more excited of the whole overall picture of everything coming together.”

Top photo: Sharon Sailor says winning the tickets is just as exciting as seeing the pontiff himself. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Alexander Stille

It might not be a stretch to say that no one else on the North Fork knows as much about what goes on inside the Vatican than Alexander Stille.

The Columbia Journalism School professor and Orient resident, who covered Italian politics (which is closely linked to the Vatican) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, just published a 7,200-word article in The New Yorker titled, “Holy Orders: A determined Pope Francis moves to reform a recalcitrant Curia.”

The article details the attempts by the pontiff — successful in some cases, yet to be determined in others — to enact change within an order that in many cases (basic accounting, for example) has yet to be brought into the 21st century and has many within it working to keep the status quo. It also lays out the rise of Pope Francis — the first pope from the Americas — in the context of the resignation of his predecessor, and how that has shaken things up inside the world’s smallest country.

A North Fork resident for the past five years and regular New Yorker contributor, Mr. Stille happened to be in Italy with a Columbia class abroad years ago when the pontiff was first coroneted. Last Friday, he said he was still trying to figure out which event he would attend.

In Francis, he believes, people see “a breath of fresh air.”

“With John Paul and Benedict, it was ‘You don’t hear me? OK, I’m going to speak a little louder,’” said Mr. Stille, referring to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. “Francis has shrewdly changed the conversation in ways that are very appealing.”

Anthoula Katsimatides

Anthoula

Anthoula Katsimatides at the 9/11 Memorial. Her brother, John, was working in the World Trade Center when the terrorist attacks occurred.

Anthoula Katsimatides, who divides her time between homes in Greenport and Queens, hopes her meeting with Pope Francis will signal good things to come — namely, she said, by “settling some of the restlessness that exists in [her] heart.”

Ms. Katsimatides has carried that restlessness with her for the past 14 years — ever since her brother, John, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

A member of the board of directors that created the national 9/11 memorial and museum, Ms. Katsimatides was invited to attend the interfaith service that will take place Friday morning.

John“The pope specifically asked to be made available to meet the family members of the victims,” she said. “It’s really nice of him that he actually offered to meet with families.”

As a member of the board, Ms. Katsimatides and her mother, Calliope, will be able to greet the pope when he arrives at the museum. There, they plan to share a photo of Mr. Katsimatides.

This won’t be Ms. Katsimatides’ first encounter with a major figure. She’s already met four presidents: George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

But Ms. Katsimatides, who said she grew up in a “very religious” Greek Orthodox household, thinks meeting Pope Francis will feel different.

“It would be a more spiritual kind of encounter, or a more peaceful encounter,” she said.

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With Joseph Pinciaro

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