Torch Columnists Swap Zucchettos with Pope Francis

Katie Rich and Ethan Mack
Katie Rich and Ethan Mack

by Chris Canniff

Chris is Editor-in-Chief and a Senior Staff Columnist.


On Wednesday, December 11, two of The Torch’s senior staff columnists who have been studying abroad in Rome this semester had an amazing encounter with Pope Francis.


Each Wednesday, the Holy Father holds a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The night before, Ethan Mack and Katie Rich, both A&S ’15, went to a clerical clothing store and purchased a white zucchetto in Francis’ size to give to him. On Wednesday morning, they arrived in St. Peter’s Square early so that they could position themselves right up along the barricades, near where the popemobile would drive by. Inside the zucchetto, they had placed a note which read, “Boston College loves our Jesuit pope!”

Pope Francis swapping zucchettos
Pope Francis swapping zucchettos

When Pope Francis drove past, Ethan and Katie held out the zucchetto, attempting to get his attention. Just after he had passed by them, he heard them calling out for him and instructed his driver to stop. A security guard walked over to Ethan and Katie and took the zucchetto, which he proceeded to give to Pope Francis. The Holy Father checked the size, read the note, smiled, took off the one he was wearing, and placed theirs on his head. He gave the one that he had been wearing to the security guard, who in turn gave it to Ethan and Katie.


“The best part of the whole encounter was just seeing Pope Francis smile at us. He radiates joy in a way unlike anyone else,” said Katie.


The video below shows the interaction.  Ethan and Katie can be seen at the left-hand side of the screen holding up the white zucchetto.  Also check out the links below the video to see coverage of this story from other news outlets.


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