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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

The Pope's got mail! Tons of it....literally

2014-07-14

The Pope's got mail...

...and plenty of it. Thousands of letters are received every week at the Vatican's Post Office. They're sorted out, one by one...right here. 

FR. STEFANO BORTOLATO
Vatican Post Office
"The letters are for the Pope, Vatican departments, bishops and cardinals who live in the Vatican.”

It's estimated that every week, the Pope alone receives about 6,000 letters, which adds up to roughly 300,000 a year. They're set aside, and then they're handed over to the Pope's collaborators at the Vatican's State Department. 

FR. STEFANO BORTOLATO
Vatican Post Office
"We don't know what the letters say because we don't open them and we're not with the Pope when he sees them. What we do know is that he receives them directly, opens them and reads some of them.” 

As an independent state, the Vatican has its own post office. It sends and receives mail from every corner of the globe. So, if you could write a letter to the Pope, what exactly would you write?

"I would ask him to pray for world peace.” 

Even though nowadays, it's easier to write an e-mail or even send out a tweet, the Pope likes to communicate the old fashion way. Whether it's by making a phone call, or by responding to letters directly himself. 

"I think it's incredible. This Pope is very different from his predecessors and he's the first Pope from the Americas.” 

The Vatican does have its system to verify if the letters are legit. When asked for financial support, for example, it gives more weight to letters that are sent through a local parish or diocese. Most though, simply ask for prayers.

FR. STEFANO BORTOLATO
Vatican Post Office
"By just seeing the addresses on the letters, we've noticed that since Pope Francis was elected, we've been receiving a lot more mail from Latin America.” 

Here... in the smallest state in the world, ironically mail is received from every corner of the world. Even though there are tens of thousands of letters, people still hope that their letter, is just one step... and stamp away from the Pope's desk.  


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