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Rome Reports

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Medieval band gets the Pope's blessing ahead of traditional donkey race

Drums pounded outside of St. Peter's Basilica as this medieval band marched out of the Pope's General Audience. 

They are representing the town of Torrita di Siena in Tuscany ahead of its traditional festival of St. Joseph, which was delayed due to the pandemic. 

"I greet all the faithful from Torrita di Siena, along with the bishop Msg. Stefano Manetti."

President, St. Joseph Association
"Since our Pope declared that this year is the year of St. Joseph we've had a dream to bring this banner which will be given to the winner of our competition on Sunday to receive a blessing from the Pope."

The competition is a donkey race typically held each year on the feast of St. Joseph in March. Now, the town is hoping that with a blessing from the Pope, all will go smoothly after months of delay. 

Mayor, Torrita di Siena
"It's the best blessing we could have for our celebration, being blessed by Pope Francis is a feeling unlike any other."

The group was accompanied by their bishop who had the chance to briefly meet with the Pope after the Audience. 

"He looked well, he was very happy (with his trip), and his health looks better, too. After the operation he is recovering his energy and his face looked in good shape. He said positive things and said he hopes the seeds he planted on his trip will bear much fruit."

Bishop Manetti will bring the Pope's blessing and well wishes with him to Tuscany as he prepares to oversee the town's most important day of the year.