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This profile was last updated on 6/5/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Father Richard Kunst

Wrong Father Richard Kunst?


St. John

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • St. Meinrad
41 Total References
Web References
Father Richard Kunst, pastor ..., 5 June 2015 [cached]
Father Richard Kunst, pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Duluth and St. Joseph in Gnesen, has made an international name for himself as a collector of papal memorabilia and as the host of the EWTN show "The Papacy: A Living History," which is based on his collection.
The most recent addition - from the popular Pope Francis - drew a flurry of media attention in May from coast to coast and even to Sports Illustrated: a signed baseball.
Pope signs basball
At a papal audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Father Richard Kunst hands a pen and a baseball to Pope Francis, who autographed the ball for the Duluth Diocese priest. (Photo courtesy of Father Richard Kunst) At a papal audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Father Richard Kunst hands a pen and a baseball to Pope Francis, who autographed the ball for the Duluth Diocese priest. (Photo courtesy of Father Richard Kunst)
"This was my fourth attempt to get to meet him," Father Kunst said. He finally was one of about 50 for the event who got a prized ticket allowing him a brief moment to greet the pope.
He handed the pope a copy of the DVD of his EWTN show, and he said the pope took it and thanked him. Then came the other part.
"I had the baseball in my other hand, and quickly I handed it to him," Father Kunst said. The pope seemed happy to sign it, Father Kunst said.
"I was super pumped about it," he said. "I actually had the idea for quite a long time."
He said the idea of asking him to sign a baseball wasn't related to any particular interest by the pope in the game - he's a well-known soccer fan - but rather the uniqueness of it as a piece of papal memorabilia. Signed baseballs are a unique niche.
He said he knows of maybe four or five other baseballs signed by popes in the past 50 years or so.
The story was picked up by Duluth's ABC affiliate WDIO and then quickly spread through an Associated Press story and some coverage by other Minnesota media outlets.
That has meant a lot of comments in day-to-day life. "A lot of people want to see it," Father Kunst said. "I jokingly tell people, 'No, I'm still sleeping with it,'" he added.
He has shown it to a relatively small group of people, including weekly Mass-goers at St. John's. He said the baseball will be part of his famous collection.
Diocese of Duluth - Catholic Church in northeastern Minnesota, 25 July 2013 [cached]
Rev. Richard Kunst Auditor
vaticanduluth04, 12 Nov 2004 [cached]
At a press conference held prior to the public viewing of the "Vatican Comes to Duluth" exhibition, Fr. Richard Kunst carefully handles a rare illuminated manuscript.
Fr. Richard Kunst, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., is among those rare collectors of the unusual.
For some nine years, Kunst has gathered the largest privately owned collection of Catholic religious artifacts in North America.
Before he began collecting church-related artifacts, Kunst gathered celebrity memorabilia.
Hughes gave the seventh graders a tour and Kunst guided eighth graders.
During the tour, Kunst posed the question, "Why do popes wear white?"With the students stumped, Kunst answered, "Every pope wears white because of Pope Pius V. He was a Dominican and Dominican's wear white.Every pope after Pope Pius V has worn white."
Included among the displays were two Swiss Guard uniforms.Kunst owns one of these uniforms, dating back to the papacy of Pope Pius X, 1903-1914.The other shown was lent to Kunst in an exchange with the Vatican and is an example of a uniform worn by a modern day Swiss Guard.
"In 2006, the Swiss Guard is celebrating their 500th anniversary," Kunst said."They don't have a Swiss Guard uniform from the time of Pius X and asked if we would lend ours to their yearlong exhibit for 2006.It's rare that the Vatican lends out Swiss Guard uniforms.There is only one other in the Western Hemisphere and that's in Washington, D.C., at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center."
Current policy, Kunst said, requires Swiss Guards to return their uniforms if they serve under five years."The tour of duty is actually two years, so most guys wouldn't be able to keep them," he said.
The uniform owned by Kunst was purchased from an antiques dealer in Chicago."What probably happened is that somebody had served for more than five years, was able to get the uniform and moved to the United States," he said.
Kunst's collection of papal signatures includes one from the man who went on to become Pope John Paul I. The signature of Albino Luciani, Kunst believes, could be the rarest papal signature in the last 500 years.Luciani had been a cardinal for only a short time prior to his 1978 election as pope.
Kunst often uses modern technology to build his papal collection."Through the Internet, it's very easy to make connections with European dealers," he said."There are a lot of manuscript dealers.If you deal with manuscript dealers in Europe, you are a lot more likely to get papal-related or church-related manuscripts."
Through the Internet Kunst is in constant communication with both manuscript and antiques dealers around the world who sell church-related items.Kunst has built a reputation and dealers often contact him before an article is available publicly.He explained that there are only a few other collectors of papal or church-related items.
"Because it's a unique hobby, we know each other," Kunst said."That's thanks in large part because of the Internet."
The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center has approached Kunst to display his collection."I haven't answered them yet," he said.
Besides Kunst, Duluth's Bishop Dennis Schnurr also lent items for the exhibit.
Father Richard Kunst: With ..., 23 July 2015 [cached]
Father Richard Kunst: With St. James, tradition bumps into political correctness
Father Richard Kunst: With St. James, tradition bumps into political correctness
Father Richard Kunst
Father Richard Kunst
Father Richard Kunst is pastor of St. Johnthe Evangelist in Duluth and St. Joseph in Gnesen. Reach him at
Directory of Catholic Schools | Diocese of Duluth, 14 Nov 2015 [cached]
Richard Kunst
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