VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has met on Earth with the astronauts he recently chatted with when they aboard the International Space Station. Their gift to the pope? A customized blue astronaut flight suit, complete with a papal white cape for flair.
Led by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, members of the 53rd ISS mission and their families had a private papal audience Friday. It was a second meeting of sorts, after Francis chatted with the astronauts in a Vatican-to-space video hookup Oct. 26.
Nespoli presented Francis with a personalized version of the jumpsuits the astronauts were wearing, featuring patches of the Argentine flag and Francis' real name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Nespoli then displayed a papal white cape that attached to the shoulders, similar to the mantel the pope wears over his white cassock.