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San Antonio psychiatrist has private audience with pope (9-13-00)

A faculty member at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently visited with Pope John Paul II in a private audience at the papal summer palace.

Emilio Romero, M.D., of the Department of Psychiatry, also attended Mass with the pontiff, cardinals and archbishops Aug. 22 at Castelgandolfo, the summer residence about 40 kilometers from Rome. The accompanying photo was taken by a staff member of L’Observatore Romano, one of the largest and most famous newspapers in Rome.

“I spoke with him in Spanish and we reminisced about his 1987 visit to San Antonio. The pope sent his salutation to our students and professors and to the city,” said Dr. Romero, who met the pontiff as a member of the San Antonio papal visit delegation and visited the pope a second time in 1995 at the Vatican.

Two days after the private audience, the globe-trotting psychiatrist toured the Vatican at the invitation of the papal secretary of state. The tour included the Pauline Chapel, where Michelangelo painted his last two frescos, “The Crucifixion of St. Peter” and “The Conversion of St. Paul.”

Dr. Romero is professor and deputy chair for veterans affairs in the Department of Psychiatry, chief of psychiatry for the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) and associate chief of staff for mental health at the STVHCS. His latest research, for a book on dreams and their meanings, is based on clinical observations.

He was made a Knight of the Order of Malta in 1987, just after the papal visit to Texas. The oldest order of chivalry in existence, the Order of Malta is dedicated to altruistic work in hospitals. It dates to the time of the First Crusade in the 11th century.

Contact: Will Sansom