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Children Give Pope Francis a Cool Vatican Drone to Call His Own

The Papal quadcopter is decked out in Vatican colors and the Pope’s official emblem.

image via (cc) flickr user catholocism

Like the President’s Air Force One, any plane carrying the Pope on his global travels is given a unique papal call-sign: “Shepherd 1.”

But what do you call the Pope’s drone?

While meeting with a group of children in Rome this past week, Pope Francis was presented with a custom-designed quadcopter to call his own, reports the Washington Post. The drone, given to Pope Francis by students from a local Jesuit school, is covered in the Vatican’s official colors of white and gold, and features the official papal emblem.

image via (cc) flickr user gmacorig

While the idea of a 78-year-old pontiff buzzing the skies of Vatican City with a custom drone might seen like a bit of a stretch, the gift is intended to be more than just a fun toy. In a statement to the Ansa Italian news agency, event organizers explain that the drone “represented...the values of technology in the service of man.” They add that, in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake which struck Nepal in April, drones have “proved useful to check the condition of structures [affected by the quake] and study paths from bringing relief to people who need this in remote villages”

As you can see in this 2013 video, uploaded just a few months after cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, drones can offer beautiful arial views of St. Peter’s Square, as well.

The Post points out that there’s no guarantee the Pope will, in fact, keep his new quadcopter. This past winter the Vatican auctioned off a number of high profile gifts—including a car, hats, and an espresso-machine—to raise money for the poor.

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