CBS News surprises Pope Francis with gift inspired by detail in his book


Pope Francis: The 60 Minutes Interview

Pope Francis: The 60 Minutes Interview


Millions of people travel across the globe each year to meet Pope Francis, many coming prepared with customary gifts for the head of the Catholic Church — CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell included.

As she wrapped up her recent historic interview with the pope in Vatican City, O’Donnell surprised Francis with a personal gift from CBS News: a vinyl of Walter Cronkite’s 1969 special report on the moon landing.

The gift was inspired by Francis’ book, “Life: My Story Through History,” which chronicles major historical moments the pontiff witnessed throughout his life, including a full chapter about joining the millions of people who turned on their television sets in July 1969 to watch Cronkite’s coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Francis wrote in the book, “I believe we all understood instinctively that the world would now be different somehow. Progress is fundamental – we have to keep moving – but it must be in harmony with humankind’s ability to manage it.”

“Your Holiness, I read in your book that when you were growing up in the seminary that you watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon, and it was on CBS — translated. This is a record of that moment,” O’Donnell told Francis, showing him the vinyl cover.

Norah O’Donnell gives Francis a gift from CBS News during a one-on-one interview in Vatican City.

CBS News

“Oh!” a smiling Francis exclaimed as he scanned the gift.

O’Donnell then showed Francis the back of the vinyl, which featured Armstrong’s iconic quote, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

“That’s very kind of you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Pray for me. Don’t forget. In favor, not against,” Francis replied as O’Donnell laughed. “Thank you very much.”

A close-up picture of the vinyl presented to Pope Francis by CBS News.

CBS News

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