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An Italian pastor has donated a used Renault 4 with 186,000 miles to Pope Francis, in response to the exhortation he made to priests and seminarians in July to live simply and humbly.
Father Renzo Roca, 69, who is pastor of St. Lucy Parish in Pescantina, wrote to the Holy Father offering to donate his car, according to news reports out of the Vatican.
The car was delivered to the Pontiff on Sept. 7 at St. Martha’s Residence, shortly before the beginning of the Vigil for Peace which the Holy Father led in St. Peter’s Square that evening.
“When I gave it to him, we got into the car, but I didn’t have to explain anything to the Pope because he told me that he also used a Renault 4 in Argentina and that it never left him stranded,” Father Roca said.
After receiving the car, the Pope rode together with Father Roca to meet with the group of faithful that traveled with him to Rome.
During the brief encounter, a young man gave the Pope a t-shirt and Father Roca explained that “normally we sell the shirts for five Euros to raise money for parish activities, but we gave it to him for free.”
However, the Pope said he would pay for it.
“He took out his wallet and gave us ten Euros and asked for change. Luckily I had five Euros in my pocket. Incredible,” Father Roca said.
He also joked that a Swiss guard standing nearby told him, “Now we are going to be a little worried because we’ll have to watch what Pope Francis does with that Renault 4.”