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The Papal Visit : Papal Digest : Hungry Pope Takes Ladle in His Own Hands

September 18, 1987| Compiled by JUDY PASTERNAK from staff reports

It's clear the Pope knows well the maxim, "God helps those who help themselves."

John Paul II was very hungry when he returned from leading the Mass that brought 100,000 people to the Los Angeles Coliseum on Tuesday night. But when he entered the dining room at St. Vibiana's, he didn't see any waiters.

He went into the adjoining small kitchen and, though the salmon smelled good and the sauce was simmering, he didn't see any chefs. The Secret Service had kept the 15-member cooking staff away so agents could conduct a last-minute security check.

The Pope showed his aptitude for decision-making. He saw a pot of vegetable soup on the stove. He looked through the dining room credenza and took out a bowl. He used a ladle to serve up the soup.

And when the staff was allowed to return, the Pope's bowl was empty. "But he ate the dinner too," said Ruggero Gadaldi, the chef who planned menus and supervised the preparation of the Pope's meals during his Los Angeles stay. "When he talks, he's a little bit slow. But he eats fast."

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