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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis blesses Vespa that will travel more than 6,000 miles from Pamplona to Dakar

“I come from Pamplona, from the University of Navarra, on a solidary trip. I'm going to Dakar in the next week to bring medication to a children's oncological hospital.”
“Very good.”

No further explanation was needed. Shortly after, this is how Pope Francis blessed the vehicle, a very eccentric Vespa, that José Antonio Fernández will use to complete this solidary objective. 


“To be able to be here in Rome today, with the pope, who blessed my Vespa, and to be able to tell him briefly about this solidary project was spectacular. It's a recharging of the batteries that will last me through this trip and the subsequent ones I'm going to do.”

The goal of this initiative is to raise 500,000 euros for research of forgotten diseases and to also spread awareness in society. 

That means traveling more than 6,000 miles in 20 days on the back of his trusty Vespa. He will depart from the Spanish city of Pamplona and, after crossing thousands of miles in the desert, arrive at Dakar, Senegal.

Before setting out on his journey, José Antonio wanted to come to Rome to explain the “Vespa Extreme – Wheels for life” project, to the pope. Fernández is developing it in collaboration with the Institute of Tropical Health at the University of Navarra. Pope Francis didn't only bless his scooter, but also made a special request


“The pope told me to pray for him during the trip. He blessed my Vespa, everything sounded good to him and he told me, 'Pray for me while you're on the trip.'”

Solidarity and adventure unite in this project that will reach places difficult to access to bring medication and raise awareness. In this way, the adventurer will bring the peripheries a bit closer.