Welcome to America! Pope Francis landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Tuesday, Sept. 22, kicking off his historic, first-ever visit to the United States. In honor of this landmark occasion, Us Weekly’s Commemorative Special Edition, Pope Francis: His Journey to America, uncovers 25 things you need to know about the spiritual leader. Check out some highlights from the list in the exclusive video above!
During his U.S. trip, Pope Francis is scheduled to spend time in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday before he comes through New York City on Thursday and Friday, where he will hold services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and Madison Square Garden. The pope will complete his U.S. visit over the weekend in Philadelphia before flying back to Rome.
Credit: Giulio Origlia/Getty Images
Pope Francis, 78, has devoted his life to the Catholic Church, but he also has a deep and impressive background in science as well. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires and also studied philosophy at the Colegio de San Jose in San Miguel. In 1986, he went to Frankfurt, Germany where he earned a doctorate in theology.
Of course, the pope won’t have much free time during his first visit to the U.S. — but when he does, he won’t spend it watching TV. In 1990, Pope Francis made a promise to the Virgin Mary to turn off the tube. He gets tempted to watch when his favorite soccer team, San Lorenzo de Almagro, plays, but he still manages to stick to his vow.
“There is a Swiss Guard that, every week, tells me the results and how we are doing in the league table,” he revealed.
The avid sports fan is also fluent in seven languages — Italian, German, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, and Piedmontese.
“The one language that always caused me big problems was English, especially its pronunciation,” he admitted.
The most surprising odd job in his past? Many decades before taking his position in Vatican City, he worked as a bouncer at an Argentine nightclub to earn some extra cash. He’s also on Twitter (@Pontifex) and has over 7 million followers! Although the pope doesn’t write his own tweets (he doesn’t own a computer), he does personally approve each one.
Even celebrities are excited to get a glimpse of the pope. Last year, Russell Crowe told Good Morning America that he briefly met Pope Francis at the Vatican while filming the movie Noah.
“I’m not Catholic and I’ve never felt any connection with any previous pope,” Crowe said. “But I really like this guy!”
Watch the video above to find out which other stars are excited to meet the pope and which sport he played when he was younger!
Us Weekly’s Commemorative Special Edition, Pope Francis: His Journey to America — featuring full-color photos, an inside look at the Vatican, and a history of popes in America — is on newsstands now.
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