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Austin Doctor Heads to D.C. for Papal Speech

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Seton Healthcare Family and Dr. Mateo ZIu
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Dr. Mateo Ziu, pictured here with Mother Theresa, is heading to D.C. to hear Pope Francis's speech to Congress on Sept. 24, 2015 via a jumbotron.

When Pope Francis gives a speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, an Austin doctor will be listening from nearby.

The Seton network of hospitals has chosen a group of locals to watch the televised speech on the west front of the U.S. Capitol. One of the locals is Dr. Mateo Ziu. He got a call from a Seton official about a week ago with the good news. 

"It was a surprise, a very great surprise," Ziu says. "I was very happy and honored for this opportunity."

Ziu, a neurosurgeon with the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, specializes in brain cancer.

He says he made a promise to help as many patients as he can to another revered Catholic: Mother Theresa. He met her when he lived in Albania and she came to her home country for a visit. Before the fall of Communism, the government didn’t let Ziu pursue medicine. Mother Theresa helped him get to medical school in Italy. The Italian Catholic Charities were awarding scholarships, and she pulled some strings so he could get a visa. 

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Credit Seton Healthcare Family and Dr. Mateo Ziu
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Mateo Ziu, a neurosurgeon with the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, pictured at right with Mother Theresa, is heading to D.C. as part of a group that will hear the Pope's speech to Congress via a jumbotron on Thursday, Sept. 24.

He’s been a doctor ever since.

"That kind of line of connection connects me from Mother Theresa, from me being a Catholic, and now to Pope Francis, that he is one of the popes that brings the mission of Christ to everybody and has opened the church to everybody," Ziu says. "That’s why I’m so excited to participate in his visit to the United States."

It’s unlikely he’ll get to meet Pope Francis on his visit to Washington, but the Pope could make a brief appearance outside the Capitol after his speech.

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