Katie and Nate Scrivener of Anne Arundel County were overjoyed to have Pope Francis reach out to their infant son, Fulton, during the pontiff's Nov. 20 audience in Rome. (Photographic Service L'Osservatore Romano)
Anne Arundel infant center of attention at Pope Francis audience
December 02, 2013
By Paul McMullen
worried that her infant son, Fulton, would cry when he encountered a very
important man in Rome.
She was the one
who wound up weeping, albeit tears of joy.
One of the
enduring images that came out of the weekly general audience Pope Francis gave
in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 20 has the pontiff trading gazes with Fulton Scrivener,
who will celebrate his first birthday Dec. 19.
In a photo that
ran the next day on Page 1 of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, the
Holy Father shows unabashed joy as he places his right hand on the head of
Fulton, a little red-headed stranger wearing a blue and white raincoat and an
inquisitive expression while being held aloft by Vatican personnel.
Fulton is in the
fourth generation of a family that lives on a farm in Davidsonville. While some
are parishioners of nearby Holy Family, Katie describes herself and her husband, Nate, as “church-hoppers,” who favor their Redemptorist friends at St. Mary in
Annapolis, but also attend Our Lady of the Sorrows in West River.
met while students at Christendom College, a Catholic liberal arts college in
Front Royal, Va. They were not novices at the papal audience, as both spent the
fall 2009 semester in Rome, taking classes near the Vatican.
we would walk through St. Peter’s Square to get to classes,” said Katie, who,
on a family trip to Rome when she was 12, saw her baby sister, Nora Cruser, be
blessed by Blessed John Paul II. “This was the third audience together for Nate
and I. We went to two given by (Pope) Benedict, but he really didn’t stop to
visit with people like Francis does.”
Nate is the
fourth of eight sons of Rob and Anne Marie Scrivener, who home-school, then
send their boys to Christendom. Ben Scrivener, 21, is a Christendom student
spending the semester in Rome; younger brother James, 15, accompanied Nate and
Katie on their recent visit, which saw them arrive in Rome Nov. 19.
That night, they
bought rosaries, in the hope they would be blessed the next day by Pope Francis
at his 10 a.m. audience. Team Scrivener, up to six with the addition of Ben’s
girlfriend, Katy Arnold, awoke at 5:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. the previous night on
the East Coast), bundled Fulton into his baby carrier and began their vigil in
a long, snaking line.
Once in St.
Peter’s Square, Katie describes them staking out a good spot, providentially
near a tour guide who pointed out the Scriveners to a security detail scouting
came by,” said Katie, who is carrying her second child, due in June, “I said,
‘He has to kiss him.’ The pope zig-zags in a random fashion, and everyone was
getting so excited. The guards came back to us, and stopped Francis at Fulton.
Francis was watching him, waiting for him. I was so worried, that Fulton would
be crying because of the commotion, but I was the one crying.
“It was so
wonderful. You have to be a fan of the pope. People say he’s too liberal,
too conservative. We love him because he’s the Holy Father. How can you not
returned home Nov. 27, bearing video of the meeting and copies of the Nov. 21
issue of L’Osservatore Romano that featured the photo. At Thanksgiving dinner
the next day, 30 savored turkey, trimmings and their own audience with Fulton.
“He is the cutest
thing,” said Bev Hinkell, his great-grandmother, who alerted the Catholic Review to
the photo. “The expression on the pope’s face is priceless. That’s what I do
when I see Fulton, break out in a smile.”
Katie spoke to
the Catholic Review on the phone Nov. 29, while Nate worked at Reliable
Contracting in Millersville and Fulton napped.
And yes, their
son is named for Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the pioneering televangelist
who reached millions via radio and then TV from 1930 to 1968.
“When I was
pregnant, Fulton became venerable,” Katie said. “I knew it was a boy, so we
were studying masculine names. It’s almost a perfect name, having an
almost-saint to look after him.”
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