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A day in the life of Pope Francis

Early starts and afternoon siestas are permanent features

<p>Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa</p>

Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

  • Andrea Tornielli for Vatican Insider/La Stampa
  • Vatican City
  • July 15, 2013
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Francis’ alarm clock goes off at 4:45 every morning in room 201 in St. Martha’s House, when everything is still pitch black. Such an early start to the day means Francis has to have a siesta after lunch. Juan Perón called this time of rest an “almost liturgical must” which made it possible for him to fit “two mornings” into his day.

The first few hours of Francis’ day are dedicated to prayer and meditation on the Readings which the Pope comments on, in the brief homilies he gives in his morning masses in the chapel of the place he likes to call the “boarding school”, commonly known as St. Martha’s House: a simple and modern building decorated with light-coloured marble and stained glass. The Bishop of Rome sits in the pews at the back of the chapel to pray.

These spontaneous but not completely improvised morning preachings are one of the most important changes of the new pontificate. And this is where the third leg of our journey begins. The Pope is assisted by cardinals, bishops or visiting priests and the masses are attended mostly by Vatican staff – from IOR staff to rubbish collectors - and their families.

Francis greets all of them one by one and then has breakfast in the St. Martha’s House “common room”. For Francis, being with people and hugging them one by one is in no way a chore or a waste of time: in Argentina he would spend whole nights listening to confessions without wearing his cardinal’s insignia, so anonymously, when big pilgrimages to Our Lady of Luján would take place.

The man who deals with requests to participate in the Pope’s morning masses and sends out invitations is a priest from the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Fr. Tino Scotti. The Pope/parish priest breaks the Gospel down for and with the faithful who attend the mass, in such a way that Vatican Radio is able to provide a summary of what Francis said, just two hours later.

Full Story: The powerful innovations of Francis' pontificate 

Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

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