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Pope praises his driver: a man who brings the Church forward

67-year-old layman is retiring, after working in the Vatican since age 14.

At the end of the General Audience on June 30, Pope Francis warmly thanked his driver, Renzo Cestiè, who is retiring. “He started working [at the Vatican] at 14 and came by bicycle; today, he is the driver of the Pope,” explained the pontiff, triggering a round of applause for this 67-year-old layman.

In 2016, Renzo Cestiè was interviewed by the British daily The Guardian. He confided his admiration for his “boss,” sharing what it is like to meet Francis’ gaze.

Cestiè will glance in his rearview mirror and find his passenger’s gaze. “I always look away,” he says. When Francis meets his eye, “it is as if, in that moment, he looks inside you and he knows who you are.” His voice cracks …

A “quiet passenger”

Recognizing that his job could be dangerous, the Pope’s driver declared that he felt no fear: “If it happens, we go to paradise,” he said to the British daily.

He praised the Pope’s sense of humanity.

For him, “we are all the same,” he explained then, “we are people who collaborate with him.”

During the General Audience, Pope Francis praised the fidelity of his driver.

Here, in the Vatican, there is a great variety of people who work: priests, cardinals, nuns, many lay people, many; and today I would like to pause to thank a layman, who is retiring today, Renzo Cestiè.

He started working [here] when he was 14 years old, he came by bicycle. Today he is the Pope’s driver: he has done all this.

Let’s applaud Renzo and his loyalty! He is one of those people who carries the Church forward with his work, with his benevolence, and with his prayer. I thank him so much and also take this opportunity to thank all the laity who work with us in the Vatican.