Timing is everything.
While awaiting a friend’s arrival in a taxi, Rome Reports news director Javier Martínez-Brocal filmed Pope Francis as he journeyed outside the Vatican on Jan. 11 to bless Stereo Sound, a record store in Rome.
Martínez-Brocal’s video went viral, The Associated Press reported, and a story about the pontiff’s excursion appeared in the Vatican’s news publication L’Osservatore Romano.
The AP reported that Martínez-Brocal sent the pope a note to say he was not “paparazzo,” and was sorry that His Holiness could not be out and about without someone noticing or making a fuss, but the story gave people some “good news” in a world full of bad reports.
“I won’t deny that it was [bad luck] that after taking all the precautions, there was a journalist waiting for someone on the taxi line,” Francis replied, according to the AP report. “You can’t lose your sense of humor.”
In his reply, Francis said he missed being able to simply walk around like he did when he served as archbishop of Buenos Aires in his native Argentina from 1998 to 2013, just before his election as the 266th pope on March 20, 2013, at the age of 76.
Francis is the first pope to come from citizens in the Americas, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest elevated to thr position, according to Biography.com.
Francis acknowledged in his note that Martínez-Brocal was doing his job as a journalist by recording his visit to the shop.
“Thank you for doing your vocation, even if it put the pope in difficulty,” he joked in the reply to Martínez-Brocal.
The co-owner of the store, Danilo Genio, told the AP that Pope Francis, who is reportedly a fan of tango, Mozart and Wagner, promised to visit the shop during a prior encounter between them in the Vatican.
Genio said before Francis was pope, he used to come in the shop regularly to buy gifts when he attended meetings in the Vatican as a priest, archbishop and then cardinal.
It was still a pleasant surprise for the owners when he followed through on his promise to come and bless the shop, walking in the door around 7 p.m. local time, the AP reported.
“He walked in the shop, and it was an amazing meeting,” said shop co-owner Tiziana Esposito. “And as he promised, he blessed the shop.”
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