Monday, September 24, 2007

Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis, gets gift of shoes from the Vatican

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Some homeless Minneapolis residents are walking in the pope's shoes.

That's after two big boxes from Rome arrived at Sharing and Caring Hands, a homeless mission in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, the Rev. Joseph Johnson, the rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul gave some friends from the Vatican a tour of the facility while they were visiting the Twin Cities.

Sharing and Caring Hands has an on-site shoe room, but director Mary Jo Copeland didn't know what was in the big boxes when they arrived.

"Father (Johnson) says, 'That's from the Pope.' I said, What do you mean? The Pope," said Copeland.

She opened them to find several dozen pairs of handmade Italian shoes to give to the poor.

"These are just grand! This is just the best gift. That Pope Benedict, wherever you are, God bless you!" said Copeland.

Johnson said Benedict got the shoes from an Italian shoemaker who asked that they be distributed to the poor.

Tasha Allen, who received a pair of the shoes, said, "It's a blessing for everybody. All the kids love them. The parents love them, too. I just can't stop smiling. Thank you pope."

For herself, Copeland received a note from the Vatican and a picture of the pope.

"That was very nice because now the pope is praying for me," she said. "I know I'll keep going," said Copeland. StarTribune

I wonder if they are "Prada" shoes, the brand the Pope likes to wear and for which he gets flak? Check out the footwear on the next panhandler you see. Maybe you can get some handmade Italian shoes for ten bucks or so if you drive a hard bargain

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