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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis receives football helmet from Michigan head coach

This is Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the University of Michigan football team. A devout Catholic, he took members of his family and squad to Rome to see Pope Francis.  Coach Harbaugh is not new to the Eternal City, as some of his children have been baptized, and received their First Holy Communion at the Vatican. However, this trip does mark the first time that he met Pope Francis. At the General Audience, he greeted him in Italian with a customized helmet and shoes prepared for His Holiness.  JIM HARBAUGH Head Coach, University of Michigan  "Holy Father, a gift. And this is my wife.â? According to Harbaugh, there is more to learning than what takes place in a classroom or football field. He believes that Rome, above all places, has the ability to impact his players.  JIM HARBAUGH Head Coach, University of Michigan  "It's a mesmerizing place as we've found out. I've always thought about mainly our culture, the United States of America, is based a lot on the Roman culture and their ideas and what their vision was. Many of the things on campus come from the cultures of Rome, Greece, Egypt, but so much of what they teach in college comes from Rome.â? Coach Harbaugh can already see a change in himself, and was taken aback at the presence of the Holy Father.  JIM HARBAUGH Head Coach, University of Michigan  "Now I know to really live in that state of grace that he was talking about, and I'm riding on that cloud of grace.â? Despite the stresses that the football season may bring, and university rivalries present at the press conference, Pope Francis always finds a way to build bridges and peace.  JC RR/CTV - F bn UP:JC