The New York Jets quarterback was moved to tears Thursday after Pope Benedict XVI blessed and kissed his newborn daughter, Kate Elizabeth, following Benedict's two-hour, open-air Mass at Nationals Park.
Benedict was greeting some of the more than 45,000 in attendance when he came upon Clemens, his wife, Nicole, and their nearly 4-week-old baby, who were sitting on the aisle in one of the rows of floor seating.
"My eyes welled up with tears, it was such a moving experience," Clemens said. "I don't really know if we fully understand just how special it was. That's a direct descendant of Peter, and there he is giving a blessing and a kiss to our child."
Clemens and his family were in Washington as part of the group Catholic Athletes For Christ.
"To have the day unfold the way it did was just an awesome experience," Clemens said.
Clemens, who was shaky after winning the starting job midway through last season, will again compete with Chad Pennington for the Jets' No. 1 quarterback spot this preseason.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press