The Vatican Comes to Duluth 2004 was an exhibit of Father Richard Kunst’s papal artifacts collection, believed to be the largest collection of papal memorabilia in North America. It featured manuscripts, clothing, relics, Swiss Guard items and other rarities connected to the papacy, canonized saints and notable individuals.

Father Kunst started the Collection while working for the U.S. Senate. Over the years, it continued to grow and became so substantial that colleagues encouraged him to share these significant artifacts through a public viewing. The year 2004 was chosen for this spectacular event, because it commemorated the end of Pope John Paul II’s Jubilee Year.

The Collection has grown substantially since 2004 and now includes items from Pope Francis to Pope St. Victor I (189-199 A.D.) and even a relic from the original chair of St. Peter himself.

Proceeds will benefit Stella Maris Academy, the Catholic schools of Duluth. Stella Maris is “commissioned by the Catholic Church to prepare lifelong learners who lead, love and serve as Jesus taught, transforming our world one student at a time.” The academy has three campuses located at St. James, St. John the Evangelist and Holy Rosary parishes. A portion of the proceeds will also be used for the education of seminarians.

The Vatican Returns to Duluth, at the  DECC City Side Convention Center, is co-sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica, which is excited to renew its commitment as it did with the original The Vatican Comes to Duluth 2004.

The Collection has been viewed by the likes of George Weigel, a leading Catholic theologian, and Crux editor John Allen Jr., who wrote in 2016, “Of all places, a reminder from Duluth that the papacy matters.”

“The Papacy: A Living History,” a series about the Collection hosted by Father Kunst, aired for two seasons on EWTN Catholic television network and was part of numerous media outlets doing stories about the Collection over many years.

Organizers encourage individuals and organizations that are interested in attending to save the date and make plans soon.

Open to the public, The Vatican Returns to Duluth will include the artifacts themselves, a Vatican store, a sponsors’ gala dinner, and a wine and cheese night (both events with guest speakers), to name just a few of the festivities being planned.

Father Kunst has always had a mission to educate people about the Church. It is his conviction that “you cannot love what you know little about. The Collection is an enjoyable, informative and sacred tool to help with that.”

For more information, contact Ronda Hughes-Stovern at Additional contact information will be announced with the next Vatican Returns to Duluth Press Release.


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