Moving around St. Peter’s Square in a white roofless jeep (papamobile)–– both during the Holy Mass and audiences- became an inseparable part of papal meetings with believers. The Pope Francis wants – which he often emphasizes – a physical contact with people, therefore, he never resigns from an occasion in order to greet believers who arrive in Vatican in crowds. Children are in an exceptional place for the Holy Father who cuddles and kisses them tenderly. This fact encouraged believers to take their children for the meetings with Francis, in hope that these will be just their children who will be noticed by papal gendarmes and given to the Pope.

When there is not enough place for people on the square in front of the basilica, they are on the neighbouring square of Pius XII and the street della Conciliazone. So, it happens that the Holy Father is also taken there. Because the border of the territory of the Vatican City joins with the periphery of St. Peter’s Square, it can be stated in such cases that it is a journey outside Vatican to the territory of Italy.

While moving around St. Peter’s Square, the Pope is accompanied by his new butler – Sandro Mariotti, a young Italian man, who is called by everybody Sandrone because of his being tall and handsome. He replaced Paolo Gabriele, the former butler who was dismissed from work because of being accused of theft of confidential documents from the papal apartment. Sometimes Francis’ private secretary travels with the pope – a priest from Malta Alfred Xuereb.

The journey in the roofless car and a close contact of the pope Francis with people bring a lot of work to Vatican Service responsible for the pope’s safety – the papamobile is surrounded by many gendarmes with the commander Domenico Gianim and guards, commanded by colonel Daniel Rudolf Anrig (in such circumstances officers from the Swiss Guard wear dark suits, not historical colourful uniforms).

People have a possibility to watch the white figure of Francis moving on the Square only to the moment when the papal car disappears under the Arch of Bells (one of entrances to Vatican under the basilica façade). Not everyone knows that the Pope continues his ‘journey’ to his residence in the House of St. Martha, standing in the papamobile – travels across the Square of the First Martyrs (it takes the area in which there used to be an ancient circus of Nero); here, over fifteen centuries there was an obelisk ornamenting St. Peter’s Square today), and next he goes under two arches which are under corridors connecting the basilica with monumental buildings of the sacristy and he goes into the Square of St. Martha. Near the papamobile papal bodyguards are running. Because nearly always there are some Vatican workers on the Square (some of them are deliberately waiting for the Pope), Francis also greets them. Next the jeep stops in front of the entrance to the House of St. Martha – and the Pope gets off the papamobile and enters the building, first, however, he shakes hands with Renzo Cestiego – a driver who was driving him around the Square and he greets gendarmes and the Swiss Guard who perform their service for the papal residence.


"Niedziela" 49/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: