Cookies, sombrero and a shoe shine: Even reporters give pope gifts

Categories: Latest News

February 12, 2016

Pope Francis tries on a sombrero while meeting journalists aboard his flight to Havana Feb. 12. Traveling to Mexico for a six-day visit, the pope is stopping briefly in Cuba to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the Havana airport. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-PLANE-START Feb. 12, 2016.

Pope Francis tries on a sombrero while meeting journalists aboard his flight to Havana Feb. 12. Traveling to Mexico for a six-day visit, the pope is stopping briefly in Cuba to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the Havana airport. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO HAVANA (CNS) — Making his 12th trip abroad, Pope Francis was accustomed to collecting interview requests, notes and gifts from the journalists who travel on the plane with him.

But his flight to Cuba Feb. 12 had a unique moment. Noel Diaz, who lives in Los Angeles and was covering the trip for ESNE — a Catholic radio and television network — asked the pope if he could shine his shoes “in memory of all those people who struggle daily to put bread on their tables.”

Diaz told the pope that when he was growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, his mother told him he would have to delay his first Communion because she could not afford to buy him black pants and a white shirt. Although not quite 8 years old, Diaz said he went out with a shoe-shine box to earn the money for the clothes and was able to receive his first Communion with his peers.

Read more in The Visitor…