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Pilgrims scurry to buy Pope Francis souvenirs in Rome shops

2013-03-27

"I bought four rosaries for my grandmothers of the new Pope”

"A rosary of the new Pope.”

His popularity has proved well for Luigi Inglese's business. An Argentine flag makes it easy to pinpoint his busy shop. 

LUIGI INGLESE
Souvenir Shop Owner
"In response, there's absolutely been a lot more people. It's beautiful because people are excited to see this Pope, the new Pope, the Pope that says that the heart of the Church is in all the world.”

Inglese hired a private photographer on the night of Francis' election. The very next day, rosaries, holy cards and key chains with the face Jorge Mario Bergoglio were all over the shelves. 

Those smallest items have proven to be the most popular.

LUIGI INGLESE
Souvenir Shop Owner
"People don't have a lot of money, so they watch what they buy. But they will take a small token of the Pope... The item we sell the most are the holy cards, which cost 15 cents.”

These items call the attention of tourists passing by, like these students from a Jesuit school in Spain, who came to celebrate their high school graduation. The fact that they have a Jesuit Pope, adds a special dimension.

"I think he's a Pope that will always work for the poor and that he will cause a renovation within, and that will help the poor.”

For Inglese, also a devout Catholic, he has witnessed the excitement first hand. 

LUIGI INGLESE
Souvenir Shop Owner
 "There was a child that saw the Pope, 6 or 7 years old. He came here, wanted this poster and said, 'I am going to hang it next to the poster of Francesco Totti because I want to be the Pope when I grow up.'”

With a new Pope, there's also new hope for businesses like these. The owner hopes the excitement and  interest in Pope Francis continues. It's something that's important to him as a practicing Catholic and in this case, also as a businessman. 


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