Argentinian pilgrims in Rome: a mainstay since 2013
Since Pope Francis has been pope, the Vatican has experienced a boom in Argentinian pilgrims. Their presence can be felt in St. Peter's Square during events like the Wednesday General Audiences.
“It was a joy, because when he passsed by us, we were all prepared to call him, 'Fr. Jorge.' When the 17 of us began to yell, 'Fr. Jorge' in unison, he looked at all of us and greeted us.”
Pilgrims like these have participated in other religious ceremonies with Pope Francis when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. For many of them, the pope is still 'Fr. Jorge.'
“He is a caring, charismatic person. He has always helped the poor.”
“It's a joy... There are so many sensations that you feel, but knowing that he saw us, that he is our pope. We saw him in Argentina, and he hasn't changed. He's the same person we saw in Argentina that walked onto the subway, on the metro; the same one who got close to people... It's Fr. Jorge.”
Since Pope Francis has been pope, it seems the nearly 7,500 miles that separate Buenos Aires and Rome have been drastically shortened. In the first months of his papacy, there was a reported 64.5 percent increase in tourists from Argentina compared to 2012. It's just another sign of the “Pope Francis effect.”