Archbishop J. Francis Stafford of the Denver Catholic Archdiocese recently received visitors from the Church prior to his Nov. 3 departure for a new Vatican assignment as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Elder V. Dallas Merrill of the Seventy and second counselor in the North America Central area presidency and Elder Robert K. Bills, an area authority, called upon him. During their hour-long visit, they discussed issues of common concern in which members from both faiths have worked together.Archbishop Stafford recalled serving with Barbara B. Smith, past Relief Society general president, on the advisory committee for the White House Conference on Families in 1979. The archbishop was effusive in his praise for the LDS volunteers who helped make the Catholic Church's 1993 World Youth Day held in Denver such a success.
Recently, the archbishop traveled to Utah, where he visited BYU and Temple Square. He chose to go as a tourist and said, "Without exception, I was treated with the greatest courtesy and respect everywhere I went." He further commented on how favorably impressed he was with both Temple Square and the art museum on the BYU campus.
In his new assignment, Archbishop Stafford will be a member of the circle of advisers to Pope John Paul II.