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Rome Reports

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The story behind Pope Francis' alpine hat

This group of alpine soldiers made a pilgrimage to St. Peter's to visit Pope Francis and attend his weekly General Audience. It's the first time they come to an audience with Pope Francis. They were excited about getting close to the Pope, so much that 800 soldiers showed up. "This Pope transmits a lot of energy. He is person that doesn't cause fear, a person that is always looking for dialoge.� Their presence in St. Peter's Square didn't go unnoticed, thanks to their hats. This accesory has full meaning: they use it to distinguish their rank, their battalion, their regiment and even their speciality. That's why they wanted Pope Francis to bless one, and finally succeeded. This army of alpine soldiers was founded in 1872 to look after the defense of the Italian mountains. Today they also help in social services. "We do anything we're asked, as long as it'spossible: cleaning rivers, helping disabled people, giving security...� They ended their pilgrimage singing, but are hopeful they might come back again soon to give Pope Francis with another hat. AFP/PM AA VM -PR Up:AC