Trading Hats with Pope Francis

October 28, 2013

A Providence College student recently had the rare opportunity to trade hats with Pope Francis: not by ascending the See of Peter, but by giving the Holy Father a zucchetto after a general audience. Joe Day, a student on the PC in Rome Program this term, attended the Pope’s Wednesday audience on October 16, prepared with a new white zucchetto with a small note pinned to the inside, reading “Providence College loves Papa Francesco,” with the signatures of the PC students in attendance. To Day’s delight, the Pope stopped in front of him, took the hat, tried it on, and pronounced it “too big” before offering a short prayer and returning it to him. Pilgrims to Rome who are privileged to meet with the Holy Father often bring with them a new white zucchetto of the kind the Pope always wears, exchanging the new hat for the old one the Pope is wearing at the time, thereby allowing the visitor to return home with a physical reminder of the Holy Father. A relic of Bl. John Paul II obtained in this manner has been venerated for years in the studentate of the Province of St. Joseph, and now sits at the center of the reliquary before the students’ oratory. For a complete account of Day’s encounter with Pope Francis, see here for the story in his own words.

Image: Vatican Insider, Pope Francis and Joe Day at the Wednesday audience

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