By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
Since the Year of Mercy began last year, Bishop Martin Amos has traveled to Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Myanmar.
Well, his paper likeness has, anyway.
Katie Gorden, a freshman at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, is a frequent traveler. So, when she heard about The Catholic Messenger’s Flat Amos project, which encourages Catholics to take selfies with a small cutout drawing of the bishop during the Year of Mercy, she decided to participate.
After her religion teacher mentioned Flat Amos in class, Katie “started thinking it would be neat to take him to all these different places around the world. I thought it would be unique.”
Gorden’s father, William, is a petroleum engineer whose work has taken Katie and her Clinton-native mother, Anne, around the world. In her 14 years, Katie has lived in Texas, Canada, Malaysia and most recently, Russia. Because there isn’t an English secondary school near their home in Russia, or an opportunity to go through confirmation class, Katie enrolled at Prince of Peace last year. She lives with her grandmother, Lydia Halbach, during the school year and is in confirmation classes at the parish.
During her trips back to eastern Asia, Katie has taken Flat Amos to Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar; Russian Orthodox churches and a cathedral in Russia; and the Heungryunsa Temple in South Korea, among other landmarks. At the Yonggungsa Temple in Incheon, South Korea, Flat Amos “made friends” with the temple cat, who sniffed the paper artwork with curiosity. Along the way, Katie took pictures.
Katie has received a few curious looks while taking selfies with Flat Amos but, because of the language barrier, people haven’t been able to approach her with questions. Still, when she tried to take a selfie at the Shwedagon Pagoda on a platform overlooking the water, a group of Burmese children came up to her. They handed their cameras to Katie’s mother and huddled close to Katie, indicating that they wanted to be in the picture, too.
She plans to remain in Clinton until her confirmation next year. At that time, she may attend an international school in northern Japan to be closer to her immediate family.
Upon learning of his “travels” with Katie, Bishop Martin Amos said, “I can’t believe all the places I visited as ‘Flat Amos.’ It does give me some idea of places the ‘Real Amos’ might like to visit.”