Pope Francis is the current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, number 266th in line and the supreme ruler of the Vatican City. He is a noted figure around the world and the Catholic community, thanks to his down to earth nature, dedication to the inter-faith dialogue, and concern for those in need. Unlike his predecessors, he chooses not to live in the papal apartments and rather stays in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse, which is a testament to his simple and humble lifestyle. He also used to own a 50cc motorcycle, a vintage 1960's model by the famous Italian company Itom, which stopped working a long time ago. Recently, a team of students decided to fix it for their beloved Pope.
A Challenging Initiative
Work for the restoration of the motorcycle was executed by the Salesian Professional School located in Bra, a small town in northern Italy. The founder of the Salesian Institute, St. John Bosco, set up professional institutes in Italy with the objective of educating young disadvantaged people with job skills, a ground-breaking idea back in the 19th century.
A Perfect Surprise
Around 10,000 young people gathered in front of the Church of Mary Auxiliatrix in the city of Turin, many of whom were from the Salesian school. As Pope Francis exited the church in order to address the crowd with a brief speech and to offer a blessing, he was surprised to see the motorbike.
An Applause-Worthy Job
One of the teachers who helped with this project, Sir Gianfranco Morra, reported that the students worked hand in hand with the teachers. At first, the school proposed the idea to Pope Francis in a letter. The initiative got a positive reply and work for the restoration begun.
It was mentioned in the letter that the Salesian Professional School focused on carpentry in its initial courses. The people working on the restoration were carefully supervised throughout the whole process of disassembling the motorbike, fixing it and putting it all back together. They also repainted the bike after the colors of the Vatican flag, which are white and yellow. The bike was recoated with zinc to prevent it from rusting. After so much hard work, it wasn’t a surprise that Pope Francis was happy to see the work these teen mechanics had done.
Mr. Morra also briefed the Pope about the school’s development and progress. He discussed how well it has grown with time and that it helps students specialize in automotive and industrial mechanics. The school has a new workshop with advanced tools, providing new space to accommodate fresh students. The school has a population of 600 students, of which 90 are enrolled in car and motorbike repair. Initiatives like these are very beneficent in strengthening the community, providing positive opportunities for teens, and should be thoroughly promoted by other schools as well.