AS CONFESSIONS go, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady made the biggest one of his life Sunday night. On the tarmac with Pope Francis.
The Democrat from Philly told the Daily News, on his ride back from Philadelphia International Airport, that as he stood with other dignitaries waiting to say adios to Papa Francisco, he said, " 'Thank you, Father. I'm a member of Congress and when you spoke at the Capitol, I don't know if you heard or not, but I'm the one who took your glass of water.' "
Monsignor Mark Miles, the pope's interpreter, smiled when he heard what Brady had to say and immediately said, " 'Yes, we heard about that,' " according to Brady. After Miles interpreted Brady's remarks into Spanish for Pope Francis, the pontiff also smiled and said "Yeah, yeah."
Brady told the pope and his interpreter that his three adult children, his grandchildren and great-grandchild were all blessed with the holy water. Also, about three or four friends with health issues including cancer blessed themselves with the water, Brady said.
El Papa didn't need interpretation, according to Brady: He immediately said, "Bueno, bueno" and added in English, "Good, give it to the people who are sick and the babies."
Brady told the pope that he had bought him a U.S. flag flown at the Capitol sometime last week so that the two could be "even."
Brady said the pontiff told him: " 'Good swap, good swap, I like that swap. Gracias.' " And then they were uneven again: Papa Francisco blessed the rosary belonging to Brady's wife, Debra.
The story - broken by the People Paper - of Brady's ingestion of water from the glass resulted in a barrage of interview requests, Brady said. He said he had asked the House parliamentarian if he could take the glass and was told he could.
He said he'll pay for the cost of the glass when he gets the bill. The glass is in a brown paper bag, awaiting a fingerprint dusting.He sipped from the glass, as did Debra and two staffers. Sen. Bob Casey and his wife and mother dipped their fingers into the water. Brady transferred the water to a separate bottle and took it home. Brady also visited elderly and ill people, whom he also blessed with the water.
"I'm an emissary of the pope," he said. "I've blessed people."