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By peoplestaff225
Updated October 22, 2008 06:00 PM
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Frederick M. Brown/Getty

On the first day of school, conversations about how summer vacations were spent are not uncommon, but it’s almost certainly uncommon to hear a child laying claim to having met the Pope. For Zoe, 8, and Karina Eleni Constantinides, 5 ½ — the daughters of CSI: NY star Melina Kanakaredes — a rare one-on-one meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican was the unquestionable highlight of the summer, however. So on Karina’s first day of kindergarten, when the teacher asked how her new pupil spent the preceding months and Karina answered that she "went to meet the Pope," the teacher understandably replied, "Oh, you went to Rome, that’s great!" the 41-year-old actress explained during a recent appearance on The Bonnie Hunt Show. "I said, no, no, she’s telling the truth! She really did meet the Pope!"

As children will often do, the girls held it together — up until the crucial moment. "They were on their best behaivor, but all kids will lose it at a certain point," Melina noted. Just a minute or two before it was the family’s turn to meet the Pope, disaster struck when Karina pinched Zoe. "My husband turns to me and goes ‘Now? They’re going to do this now? After three hours of church, and they were great?’" Melina recalled.

Zoe and Karina are Melina’s children with husband Peter Constantinides, whom she married in 1992.