John XXIII and a Helicopter

I’ve been enjoying watching a bit of archival footage of Pope John XXIII on Youtube every now and then, in order to get to know more about him as his canonization approaches on April 27th.

This old news reel is fun – it shows a helicopter landing in the Courtyard of St. Damasus (Cortile di San Damaso), which is the main courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. (Keep in mind that most buildings in Italy have courtyards in the middle, some buildings have multiple courtyards.)

Before the video, here is a Google Maps screen capture showing that courtyard with a red arrow:

The elevator that goes up to the Papal Apartments is located here. This is where President Obama recently came to meet Pope Francis.

And here is the video – Pope John XXIII blesses an American-built helicopter, which landed in the courtyard for that purpose:

Being pope is an incredible burden, a huge responsibility; but there are also these interesting moments, such as when a helicopter lands in your “back yard” for a blessing!

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