Pope Francis now has the right kind of suit for experiencing heaven in this world.
During a visit to the Vatican, crew members from the International Space Station’s Expedition 53 gave the pope his very own blue flight suit.
There’s even a short white cape to go with it, embellished with embroidered wings.
But in a nod to the secular world, the flight suit’s name tag doesn’t read “Francis” or “Pontifex.” Instead, the tag uses the pontiff’s birth name, Jorge M. Bergoglio. And the sleeve sports the flag of Francis’ native Argentina rather than Vatican City’s crossed-keys banner.
El Papa Francisco recibió durante una audiencia informal a un grupo de astronautas de la misión 53 de la Estación Espacial Internacional, quienes estuvieron acompañados por sus familias. pic.twitter.com/i56Yv1x73E
— Notimex (@Notimex) June 8, 2018
The spacefliers’ visit to the Vatican was organized to follow up on last October’s chat between Pope Francis and the space station crew. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli led the way, but NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei were in on today’s papal audience as well, along with Russia’s Sergey Ryazanskiy and some of the crew’s family members.
“Since clothes make the man, we thought we’d have a flight suit like ours made for you,” Nespoli told the pope, according to an account from ABC News.
“Oh, OK … and you will plan my trip!” Francis joked.
Afterward, Bresnik told Catholic News Service that he’s been impressed by the pope’s influence, in space as well as on Earth.
“It was interesting seeing the Catholics on our crew, the Eastern Orthodox crew members, to see everybody energized by talking with the pope, with what he represents,” said Bresnik, who is a Baptist.