ROME — 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.
Nespoli was one of the people on the space station in 2011 when Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to speak to astronauts in space.
Crux staff contributed to this report.