Pope Francis' yellow bracelet

2013-03-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio). We've all noticed the yellow band Pope Francis has been wearing on his wrist since his election.

A simple rubber band that photographers and media have brought to the attention of the public as we all get to know our new Pope and observe him as he goes about his papal committments and appearances.

Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni asked the man who gave the Pope this unusual gift to tell her something about it.

He is Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, Archbishop of Durban in South Africa. He handed it to Pope Francis when he met with the College of Cardinals on the day following his election as Pope.

listen to the interview...

Cardinal Napier explains that a year or two ago one of his priests decided to create a special symbolic object for the season of Lent. Something to remind people to make a special commitment for lent, to remind them that they've made this committment. He decided on a black band and on a purple band with the word "Sacrificium" printed on them because - says Cardinal Napier - "that's how our lenten campaign goes: make a sacrifice, give to the poor".
So when it came to the Year of Faith, this priest asked the Cardinal whether he should make another band, and Napier said "go ahead". So what we have got now is the yellow "Year of Faith" band with the words 'Credo Domine - I believe Lord'. And then there is the symbol of the fish and the cross.

"Very important" - Cardinal Napier points out - the bracelet "goes with a card which on the one side has a prayer for the Year of Faith where we ask God to help us in this Year of Faith to do the things we need to do to really renew our faith; and on the other side there is a committment form in which you commit to undertake the things to do".

The band - or bracelet - is produced by St. Joseph's Parish in Cardinal Napier's Diocese.

Cardinal Napier says that when he gave Pope Francis the band, he immediately asked what it was about. "He took it out of its box and immediately put it on his wrist", notwithstanding his assistant was waiting to take it... At lunch, on one of the days subsequent to that, he took it off and showed the Cardinals sitting at table with him and explained to them its meaning and its origin...