'Doncaster sends its love and prayers' - the moment top town clergyman shook hands with the Pope

The Ven Fitzharris meets Pope Francis. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano).
The Ven Fitzharris meets Pope Francis. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano).

This is the moment one of the town's most senior clergymen met the Pope and told him: "Doncaster sends its love and prayers."

The Venerable Robert Fitzharris, Archdeacon Emeritus of Doncaster, met Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier this month - and he was quick to let the know the head of the Catholic church where he was from.

The pair enjoyed a brief conversation where Doncaster was mentioned. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

The pair enjoyed a brief conversation where Doncaster was mentioned. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

"We shook hands and had a brief conversation," said Ven Fitzharris, 71, who is one of the senior clergy at Doncaster Minster.

"I told the Pope that Doncaster sends its love and prayers and he replied 'thank you.'

The Ven Fitzharris was part of an Anglican delegation in Rome, accompanying an African Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, the Archbishop of Burundi, to the visit with Pope Francis.

"The Archbishop asked us if we'd like to join him and we said we'd be delighted.

"The Pope knew we were an Anglican delegation - there was no flying under the radar or anything like that," he joked.

Members of the group were presented with a Papal Medal during the audience with the 80-year-old Argentine pontiff.

Added Ven Fitzharris: "When I told people that I was likely to be meeting the Pope, people from whatever denomination told me that they are full of admiration for his simplicity, humility and humanity and I wanted to convey that to him.

"I told him that the people of Doncaster sent their love and prayers."