By Seth T. Gonzales
PHILADELPHIA — Sunday was the first time Doug and Julie Bauman have ever worn a miter. Made of cardboard, of course.
“We engineered these hats in our hotel room two days ago,” Doug said. “We wanted to be fun, creative and under budget.”
Drawing on their experience as schoolteachers, they accomplished all three with a dollar in their pocket, two pieces of poster board and a roll of duct tape.
Hailing from Indianapolis, the Baumans, who have three young children back at home, traveled to Philadelphia with a group of 50 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. After spending the week at the World Meeting of Families, Doug and Julie gamed a plan not just to get close to the papal motorcade, but to get Pope Francis’ attention.
With no baby in hand for the pontiff to kiss, they had to think outside the box. Julie said they remembered a group of friends who traveled to Denver during St. John Paul II’s visit to the city and came back with foam miters.
“I thought I could find one to buy, but it turns out I couldn’t,” Julie said. “So we had to improvise.”
Married for 14 years, the couple said they weren’t going to miss Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Doug said he and his wife were moved to tears during the pontiff’s improvised talk at the Festival of Families.
“It was one of those moments I’ll never forget,” Doug said. “We prayed with the Holy Father and his message was directed right toward our ministry as spouses, parents and teachers.”
Julie said Pope Francis is helping the two of them look at the bigger picture when dealing with the stress of raising a family.
“Even in our not-so-great moments as a parent, Jesus is with us, especially during those times,” Julie said.
As for the miters, the couple said they might not have scored any brownie points with their kids back home.
“We sent them a photo and they’re totally embarrassed,” Julie laughed. “They’re really glad they didn’t come with us.”
Follow Gonzales on Twitter: @TexasCatholic