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Meet the man who designs Papal vestments

2014-03-22

His name is Raniero Mancinelli, and since the Second Vatican Council he has been making  papal vestments. His list of clients includes Pope Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis.

From his family shop in Rome's Borgo Pio neighborhood, he designs and sows the vestments. 

RANIERO MANCINELLI
Papal Tailor
"The chasuble is a cloak worn during celebrations of the Holy Mass. Today, it's been re-sized, thanks to His Holiness Pope Francis, who wanted to simplify things more, make them more somber, and less costly.”

Mancinelli hand-delivered a papal hat to Pope Francis, which he has exchanged numerous times with pilgrims during General Audiences.

RANIERO MANCINELLI
Papal Tailor
"The zucchetto is a small, round hat. Bishops have an purple one, cardinals use red, and the Pope's is white.”

Since his election, Pope Francis has shown off his own style. He's the first Pope to appear without the red velvet cape known as the mozzetta. He only uses the papal stole and mitre during solemn ceremonies.

RANIERO MANCINELLI
Papal Tailor
"The stole is the symbol of the priest, which all clergy use, especially during Mass or Confession. There are four colors and they depend on the liturgical calendar: green, red, white, and violet. The mitre is what he wears on his head. At first they were very elaborate, but now they're much more simple because that's how Pope Francis wants them. The pallium is the white strip of wool with the black crosses, that the Pope gives all metropolitan bishops on the feast day of St. Peter.” 

Around his neck, Pope Francis chooses to wear a silver crucifix, which came directly from these very shelves.

RANIERO MANCINELLI
Papal Tailor
"I fortunately sold the cross, not to Pope Francis, but to someone who gave it to him when he became bishop in 1992. That person bought it here. The fisherman's ring has a very precise meaning, which is to gather all souls around the world.”

So even though designing priestly vestments is pretty straightforward, the Pope has managed to reflect his personality through their simplicity. 


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