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Grant Newsome's essay: 'I feel that I could truly show God how appreciative I am'

Special to The Detroit News

Sophomore offensive lineman, who suffered a career-threatening leg injury, shares in an essay why he would like to meet Pope Francis

Coach Harbaugh,

Michigan offensive lineman Grant Newsome

Before I begin I want to again thank you, and the whole ops staff, for arranging this trip to Rome for us. The trip will undoubtedly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us, and being able to experience the Vatican will be an honor. I am sure, or at least I would hope, that every guy on the team will be writing you to ask for the opportunity to meet the Pope, so I will be brief explaining why I would value the experience.

First, while not a Catholic, as a Christian I hold the Pope in the highest esteem, regarding him as a holiest mortal man. Growing up attending Sunday School, I have heard many times about the greatness and the mercy of our Lord; however this idea didn’t become truly “real” to me until I hurt my knee. My injury and my time in the hospital really taught me to appreciate God’s love and mercy, as without his mercy and strength I would have lost my leg and maybe even my life. Because of this, I feel like I owe it to God to take every opportunity I get to honor, thank, and praise him; and to me, the Pope is the closest mortal being to God, so by shaking the Pope’s hand and by telling him “thank you,” I feel that I could truly show God how appreciative I am of him.

Second, while it would be an honor to meet any Bishop or Cardinal, and certainly to meet any Pope; I feel that Pope Francis is truly extraordinary, as I believe he is successfully transitioning the Church into the 21st Century and the Modern World. I say this because Pope Francis has taken a different (when compared with his predecessors), and sometimes controversial, stance on issues such as a woman’s role in the Church, LGBT rights, and the Environment and Climate Change.  Because of his positions and beliefs on these issues, I believe that Pope Francis will be remembered as a historic Pope who not only made the Church more inclusive, but also more modern.

Thank you for your consideration,

Grant Newsome