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Non-Catholic meets Pope Francis after asking 15 times

Pope responded positively to lone cyclist's request

<p>Photo courtesy Leandro Martins/Huffington Post</p>

Photo courtesy Leandro Martins/Huffington Post

  • Yasmine Hafiz for Huffington Post Religion
  • Vatican City
  • July 22, 2013
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Has the Pope shifted his focus from cars to cycles? Pope Francis greeted Brazilian bicyclist Leandro Martins at his residence on Thursday July 18.

Martins, who is cycling 6,200 miles from Amsterdam to Asia, was thrilled to gain a rare audience with the pope - particularly as he is not Catholic, but simply admires the pope's goodness and commitment to social justice. He also considers them neighbors of a sort, as Martins' home state of Rio Grande do Sul shares a border with Pope Francis' native Argentina.

Martins knew that the prospect of meeting the pope was a very long shot, as he wrote in one of fifteen letters to the pope's secretary, "I know it's going to sound ridiculous and you are going to laugh at me but... I really would like to meet him." His persistence paid off, and he rode into the Vatican by bike, to the surprise of the Swiss Guard.

Full Story: Pope Francis Meets Leandro Martins, Cyclist On 6,200 Mile Journey 

Source: Huffington Post Religion

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