updated 10/4/2007 1:03:10 PM ET 2007-10-04T17:03:10

Some of Minneapolis' homeless are now walking in the pope's shoes.

The boxes arrived from Rome after the Rev. Joseph Johnson, rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul, gave some visiting friends from the Vatican a tour of Sharing and Caring Hands, a homeless mission in downtown Minneapolis.

Pope Benedict XVI received the shoes from an Italian shoemaker and asked that they be distributed to the poor.

When she opened the boxes, Sharing and Caring director Mary Jo Copeland found several dozen pairs of the handmade shoes, but didn't know who had donated them.

Tasha Allen, who received a pair of the shoes, said, "It's a blessing for everybody. All the kids love them. The parents love them, too. I just can't stop smiling. Thank you, pope."

Copeland also received a note from the Vatican and a picture of the pope.

"The pope is praying for me," she said. "I know I'll keep going."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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