Pope dons safety helmet for earthquake-hit cathedral visit

By Associated Press Reporter

Pope Francis donned a white firefighter’s safety helmet during his visit to a damaged cathedral in a town struck by earthquakes in 2016.

Francis was giving encouragement to people in Camerino, central Italy, still struggling three years after the devastating events.

The town was so badly shaken that people are still not allowed into the town centre, as work continues to stabilise buildings.

Pope Francis is offered a safety helmet during his visit to the cathderal (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

A firefighter’s safety helmet was placed over Francis’s skullcap before he entered the cathedral.

Inside the building, he was surrounded by firefighters and clergymen also wearing helmets.

He placed flowers at a statue of the Virgin Mary, which was damaged in the earthquake and whose head and arms are missing.

The image of Francis wearing a helmet mirrored the scene in Paris on Saturday of churchmen, including the Archbishop of Paris, wearing hard hats as they celebrated the first Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral since a fire ravaged the building and toppled its spire on April 15.