Give us today our daily Pope: we followed Bergoglio for 24 hours (or almost)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected ten years ago. With gestures and words, he brought a new wind to the Church. But how does he live? And how is he? Chronicle of a day at his home in the Vatican

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His day begins when the dawn lights are still far away and Casa Santa Marta, in the Vatican, is shrouded in darkness. In fact, Pope Francis wakes up between 4.30 and 5. The new day for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 86, begins with prayer and meditation on the Word of God - photo | video

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THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY – The Pontiff thus prepares for morning mass and for his daily commitments. He celebrates in the chapel outside his apartment on the second floor. At the beginning of his pontificate, which began 10 years ago, on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis said mass at 7 in the chapel on the ground floor of Santa Marta. In that period, and until 2020, residents and guests passing through Santa Marta participated in the daily celebration, alongside groups of people and individuals who from time to time booked themselves for that special appointment, which went beyond the traditional meeting in the Wednesday general audience. For Pope Francis it was a daily commitment: it involved preparing the homily, meeting people at the end of the celebration at his 'home', since he had chosen not to live in the Apostolic Palace.

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DURING THE PANDEMIC – With this rite, initiated immediately after his election, Pope Francis had the opportunity to shake hands, make eye contact, listen to the voices and prayers of people he would otherwise never have met. That liturgy also represented the symbol of a pontificate that did not close in on itself, but opened its doors wide to the world. At the time of the pandemic, during the lockdown, with the churches closed, Pope Francis celebrated in the Chapel of Santa Marta: the mass was broadcast by Rai 1 and Tv2000 and was followed all over the world, in many languages, even in Chinese. Bergoglio in that period ideally welcomed the world into his home, heartened him spiritually, became a companion on the journey in universal suffering.
Now in the chapel, on the second floor of Casa Santa Marta, which overlooks one side of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis says mass with his papal family: the secretaries, Don Fabio Salerno and the Uruguayan priest Don Gonzalo Aemilius. Around 8 he has breakfast, with biscuits, rusks, yoghurt, sometimes even in her apartment because he doesn't always go down to the dining room which is on the ground floor. Then the official commitments begin: from Casa Santa Marta the Pope moves to the Apostolic Palace, still in the Vatican. He usually stays in the audience apartment until 13. It is here that he receives heads of state, sovereigns, ambassadors, cardinals, bishops, heads of departments, small groups. After his commitments at the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis returns to Santa Marta. Here he lunches, usually with his secretaries or with his room helpers, Sandro Mariotti, amicably called Sandrone, and Piergiorgio Zanetti. Sometimes, on Sundays, after the Angelus, some employees of Casa Santa Marta keep him company at the table. He doesn't like to eat alone.

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HE GETS HELPED – In August of last year, Pope Francis then appointed nurse Massimiliano Strapppetti as his personal health assistant. Since the spring of 2022 we have seen the Pontiff also move around in a wheelchair or use a stick as a support when he walks. Bergoglio is facing gonarthrosis problems in his right knee. Meanwhile, even with these difficulties, his days are always full of commitments. And some trips are already planned for this year: from April 28 to 30 in Hungary, from August 1 to 6 in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day, in September, 23, in Marseille, France, and then from there to Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
“You govern with the head, not with the knee,” Bergoglio underlined on his 86th birthday, last December 17. Moreover, even after the surgery for diverticular stenosis on 4 July 2021 at the Gemelli in Rome, the Pontiff did not give up the Angelus and prayed from the tenth floor of the Roman Polyclinic After the morning of meetings at the Apostolic Palace, the Pope lunched at Santa Marta, in the refectory also intended for guests of the Vatican residence.

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THE POPE'S DIET – At the table, Bergoglio follows a food style that includes light dishes. He eats little pasta, vegetables, chicken, sometimes carasau bread, which he seems to like, some sweets. His passion for dulce de leche, typical of the South American tradition, is known. In the afternoon he rests a bit. After the nap, if he has some important meeting, he shaves again. If no outings are planned, he usually receives collaborators and friends: sometimes in his apartment, other times in the small living rooms on the ground floor of Casa Santa Marta.
His apartment is small: hall, sitting room, study, bedroom, bathroom. The Pope has a landline phone, but he doesn't seem to have his own cell phone. Since the beginning of his pontificate, he has kept the statuette of sleeping Saint Joseph on a sideboard in his studio: he keeps tickets with the many requests for prayers that reach the pontiff. Bergoglio, who for more than 40 years has recited a special prayer to St. Joseph every morning, while sitting at his desk has the saint almost in front of him. This devotion to him leads to Buenos Aires, also to the church of San José, where Jorge Mario Bergoglio, originally from Piedmont, discovered his priestly vocation in 1953. In these years of his pontificate, Bergoglio has never gone on vacation. Maybe in the summer, when Wednesday hearings are usually suspended for a few months, he has a less busy period.

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BETWEEN MUSIC AND TV - In the time of rest, the music of the beloved Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, the opera keeps him company. He doesn't watch movies and TV, even if someone signals him and shows him something. Sure, Sunday follows a bit In his image , the Rai 1 program that precedes and announces the Angelus. Towards evening the Pope stops in prayer, between vespers and silent reflection in front of the tabernacle.
Dinner, at 8 pm, is particularly light. Then, in her apartment, there was still time to read, even poetry, to work, at least until 9 pm, and to pray. He who knows how to weave faith and daily life, even in official meetings or after the Angelus, when he asks for prayers for himself or wishes a good lunch. Like a family person.