Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has always wanted to sneak freely into the streets to meet people and even be able to buy a good pizza in town.
“I miss going out on the street; I really want it, the tranquility of walking down the street, or going to a pizzeria to eat a good pizza… I’ve always been ‘from the street’,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Pontiff’s handlers organized a taxi and the Pope snuck around a street corner to visit his old acquaintance who operates a ‘Stereosound’, a record store whose owners he has known since then. where he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Although the Pontiff’s handlers thought they had hidden this short visit, there was a curious reporter whose lens was ready to grab anything – then he saw the pope and pressed the shutter.
On January 11, the Spanish journalist Javier Martínez Brocal was passing through the Pantheon area of Rome and saw the pope leaving the record store named “Stereosound”.
The black-and-white photo of the pope emerging from the “Pantheon record store” – as local Romans call the place – carrying a classical music disc given to him by store owner Letizia Giostra and his daughter Tiziana , went viral on social media within minutes.
The pope himself saw the photo and thanked Brocal for this “noble” post.
Pope Francis sent a brief letter to Rome-based journalist Javier Martínez Brocal who recently photographed the pope exiting a record store and encourages journalists to fulfill their journalistic vocation even if it makes others feel uncomfortable.
At the same time, he writes, “one cannot deny that it was a ‘terrible fate’ (a misfortune, editor’s note) that, after having taken all the precautions, there was a journalist who was waiting for someone at the taxi stand”.
The pope immediately made it clear in his letter that this remark was a light joke: “We must not lose our sense of humor.”
He also encouraged reporters to ‘fulfil their calling’ as journalists, ‘even if it means embarrassing (‘mettere in difficoltà‘) Pope.”
Pope Francis is no stranger to “out of town” travel, having visited an optical store in 2015 and then an orthopedic store in 2016.
He had ventured late Tuesday afternoon to the music store in the heart of Rome to bless the newly renovated premises.
He chatted for about ten minutes with the owner, an old acquaintance of his from when he was staying as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in the “House of the Clergy” on Via della Scrofa.