Look what a flurry of letters to the pope may get you

VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis gears up to go to Brazil next week, a bit of Brazil showed up on his doorstep this morning.


Leandro Martins from Porto Alegre, Brazil, was granted an unexpected audience with Pope Francis July 18. Leandro was biking from Amsterdam to Asia. (Photo courtesy of Leandro Martins)

Leandro Martins from Porto Alegre rode into the Vatican by bicycle today on a much anticipated pit stop from his planned 6,200-mile journey from Amsterdam to Asia.

As a fellow-Latin American, Leandro said he wanted to greet the new pontiff even though he knew it was a long shot.

In one of numerous letters (about 15) he wrote to Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, the pope’s secretary, Leandro said, “I know it’s going to sound ridiculous and you are going to laugh at me but… I really would like to meet him, OK go ahead….”

Well, if they did laugh, it worked. Leandro got a call yesterday from the monsignor saying he was welcome to come to morning Mass at the pope’s residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, followed by a meeting with the pope.

Leandro tells the tale best in the “Vatican City” entry on his blog http://www.leandrobybike.blogspot.it/  The post also contains a slideshow of shots of the pope and the traveling “gaucho” (as he calls himself), including one of the pope visiting the bicycle parked outside.


Leandro Martins of Porto Alegre, Brazil, shows Pope Francis the bicycle he is using to trek from Amsterdam to Asia as well as the Brazilian flag he is asking the people he meets along the way to sign. (Photo courtesy of Leandro Martins).

Pointing to all the gear packed on the back of the bike, Leandro said he told the pope: “this is my house, the bed, and kitchen.”

The pope also signed Leandro’s flag, which is peppered with the  signatures of many of the people he has been meeting on his journey. The pope wrote: “Que Dios te acompane. Francisco.” (May God accompany you. Francis).

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10 Responses to Look what a flurry of letters to the pope may get you

  1. heidiskye333 says:

    I love Pope Francis!

  2. Duane Lamers says:

    It is good to see the “human side” of the pope, something we saw much of in John Paul II, thanks especially to George Weigel’s biography. We are served well by examples of a pontiff as a “people person.” Pope Francis weekly gives us examples of this.
    How easy to park one’s bike outside this pope’s “digs” and not have to leave it at some great distance and then hike through marble halls and salons to speak to him.

  3. Margaret Sheehan says:

    Does Pope Francis have a direct address or email? We are in Great Need of a Bishop in the Fort Worth, Texas area. I was hoping I could send a SOS to him. I know he is so very busy and I am so Grateful to God for the Catholic Church to be Blessed with a Fine Shepherd.
    Thank You

  4. Regina Kehoe says:

    such a human reaponse from fellow human being- i still cannot believe he became our pope- may it contnue as he attempts to bite thw bullets- love to kathy-more when i talk to you- regina

  5. Reblogged this on Keen for God and commented:
    Pope Francis meets with bicyclist who is traveling from Amsterdam to Asia. The humility of Pope Francis is so inspiring!

  6. Fr. Vidal J. Gornez, SJ says:

    God is so good, He visits us through Pope Francis. How near God is to us, through our awesome Holy Father!

  7. roberthoman says:

    Check that link out for Pope’s address! Bishop SOS sounds good

  8. We are so blessed that the Lord chose beloved Pope Francis. He is saintly already.

  9. Jim O'Donoghue says:

    Friendship, humility, kindness, generosity, charity, equality, and love.
    This is the man called Pope Francis. He does as God asks, to serve others, as I have served you. While many Cardinals were reluctant to have a Jesuit Pope, God has spoken. May Pope Francis continue to be
    such a good and civil servant of our Church. God Bless you, Holy Father.

  10. Crystal says:

    this is so awesome! as busy as Pope Francis is, he still makes time for all! What a role model for us all.

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