Have you seen that yellow silicone bracelet that Pope Francis has? Having worn it to various functions, it's caught media attention since silicone wrist bands are not the usual attire for the successor of St Peter.
It was given to the pope the day after his election by Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, OFM, the Archbishop of Durban in South Africa. The bracelet is something one of the parishes in his archdiocese is doing for the Year of Faith. Before he left for the conclave, the cardinal was asked to give one to the newly elected pope. Here is a quick video from Rome Reports that shows the Holy Father receiving the wrist band and Cardinal Napier's thoughts about giving it to him:
Immediately after seeing this, I thought about how neat it would be to see if I could get one. (It couldn't hurt to ask, right?) So I looked up the Archdiocese of Durban, and sent them an e-mail. Four months later, a letter from South Africa arrived and inside was the wrist band!
I didn't expect the letter to be actually signed by Cardinal Napier- the same guy who participated in the papal conclave and handed Pope Francis his wrist band. I was also taken that it began with a sincere apology saying that it took so long for him to mail one to me because they had run out.
Accuse me of hero worship if you want. (I'll admit there's a little bit since I'm showing off the bracelet.) But it's what the wrist band has come to represent that I think is a real eye opener. The fact that an American Catholic like me can wear the same wrist band as the Argentinian pope, the same wrist band worn by a lot of people in South Africa, and all of us are living on opposite ends of the world, shows the connectedness and universality of the Church in a really neat way.
I bet Cardinal Napier didn't realize how much attention his gift to the Holy Father would receive. I'm also betting the priest who created the wrist bands didn't know that the pope would one day be wearing one! I don't know how many bracelets they have left; I'm sure they've had to get more now that the pope has one.
If you too want a wrist band, reach out to the Archdiocese of Durban and you'll probably get one. I just ask that you help them out by sending a little donation to cover the cost and support the Church there. Thanks for being so awesome, Cardinal Napier!