At home and abroad, popemobile fills with gifts for pope

When he’s riding in the popemobile — at the Vatican or, for example, in Rio de Janeiro — Pope Francis uses his hands not just to bless people and hold the babies he’s kissing. He uses them to catch things.

Tossing, lobbing and throwing things to the pope or into the popemobile has been a growing phenomenon at the Vatican, but it took on epic portions during World Youth Day in Rio.

“We filled a jeep four times with objects of every kind,” said Alberto Gasbarri, the chief organizer of papal trips.

Gasbarri’s partial inventory included: “T-shirts, hats, scarves, balls, flowers, bandanas, photographs, letters, drawings, rosaries — and even a bishop’s ring.”

“It’s true, it was pretty substantial,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. It wasn’t clear if the ring belonged to a bishop who tossed it or if it was meant as a gift from one of the pilgrims to the pope.

The haul was divided between the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and the Vatican, Gasbarri said. Some of the things left behind will be souvenirs of the pope’s visit, while much of the clothing will be distributed to the poor.

The ball and soccer jersey Pope Francis left before an icon of Mary July 29 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major — when he stopped there on the way home from the airport — came from the Rio collection, Gasbarri said.

The same thing happens at the Vatican with papal gifts. Items handed to the pope or simply tossed into the popemobile are sorted.

Some end up catalogued and stored, including in the Vatican Museums, but the clothing and most of the edibles go to the diocesan Caritas, the Vatican shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity or the Vatican’s maternal and pediatric clinic, which serves mainly immigrants and is run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

At least once, Pope Francis reached into the bottom of the popemobile and recycled a gift himself.

During a weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square in mid-June — a hot, intensely sunny day — the pope kissed two little boys and motioned for their parents to put hats on them.

A little while later, one of the Vatican security officers held up another hatless boy.

The pope kissed the boy, patted him on the cheek then told the officer to wait while he reached down and found a hat. The green baseball cap was a little large, but he put it on the boy’s head anyway.

Asked if the gift tosses frighten Vatican security, Father Lombardi said, “I asked them that, too. They said not really. The pope’s not afraid.”


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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One Response to At home and abroad, popemobile fills with gifts for pope

  1. After aeons here comes along a rock star Pope; he loves his fans/people; which other Pope has really reached out to us ?? The Pope has always been perceived as someone way up there on a pedestal to be looked at with awe and absolute reverence; not as a human like all of us but like a demi-god to be sort of worshipped; let us be honest with ourselves, and admit this fact of the past, which of course we would like not to admit. The only reason I can read in to this, is that the coterie which surrounds and suffocates the Pope, designed this system so that he is kept so far away from the people he is destined to lead as a SHEPHERD, and not sit on a throne and rule the faithful. All the bullet proof cars and popemobiles; the trappings of a politician; not the need of a spiritual leader who is elected to care for us. Rock on Pope Francis !!!!

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