By Bridget Kelly
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — During the pope’s Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square, a chocolate company in Northern Italy gave him a 551-pound chocolate egg. The massive, beautiful egg is hand-decorated and reaches more than seven feet high. The detailed egg not only includes various designs and small pink flowers, but also features the papal coat of arms.
The pope decided to donate the egg to the children living at a Rome detention center, Casal del Marmo Prison for Minors. The pope visited the prison back in 2007, meeting the detainees and giving them his blessing. The youths, including many immigrants and non-Catholics, said they were moved by the fact that a pope would take time to visit them. Before leaving, the pope also told the young people he wished he could stay longer, and promised to keep them in his prayers.
In 1996 the same chocolate company, Tosca, gave Pope John Paul II a 551-pound hand-decorated chocolate egg as well. This year’s egg was designed to initiate cheer, sharing, and to celebrate the Easter season, the company said.
During the Easter season in Italy, many people give chocolate eggs because the egg represents birth, renewal and is a sign of life. Many pastry shops produce grand, hand-decorated chocolate eggs but none are comparable to the company’s nearly three-ton eggs that are 16 1/2 feet tall!
In case you missed it, here is a quick CNS video I did on the chocolate egg tradition in Italy: