Famed actor Robert Redford waited patiently outside the Vatican on Wednesday for the chance to briefly exchange personal words with Pope Francis.
Redford and his wife, German artist Sibylle Szaggars, were spotted in the general audience for the weekly Papal Mass in St. Peter's Square.
The pope, 82, and Redford, 83, clasped hands as Redford said, "Holy Father, my name is Robert Redford and I want to thank you for all you've done for the environment."
"God bless you," Pope Francis responded, and Redford thanked him. The pope then continued with what has become his signature request: "Pray for me."
"I do," Redford replied.
Pope Francis' practice of asking Catholics to pray for him is largely unprecedented, and it made headlines in the early stages of his papacy. "Why is Pope Francis asking people to pray for him?" the Washington Post asked in October 2015, explaining via theology professors that his personal understanding of Christianity focuses on the idea of "accompaniment," or working and praying alongside one another.
Redford himself has Irish Catholic heritage, although in a 2007 interview with Playboy he noted that he's found faith not in organized religion but rather in the existing world around him. "I've explored every religion, some very deeply, enough to know there's not one philosophy that can satisfy me. Problems can't be solved with one way of thinking. If anything is my guide, nature is," he said. "That's where my spirituality is."
He continued, "Is there an afterlife? As far as I know, this is it. It's all we’ve got. You take your opportunities and you go for it."
Other famous faces have also personally thanked Pope Francis for his commitment to environmentalism include Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger.