The Pope in Philly

How Pope Francis rolls: A $300K Popemobile, chartered flights on Shepherd One

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Pope Francis is known as the people’s pope. When he was a Cardinal in Argentina, he rode the bus to work and as pope has continued to advocate for the poor while eschewing many of the luxuries afforded past popes. Still, he gets to have some really cool things, and when he comes to Philadelphia we’ll get to see him using some of them. Here’s a rundown of the six accessories used by Pope Francis, from the Popemobile to the Pope plane to the Pope watch.

The Popemobile

Popes have been riding in Popemobiles since 1909 — the first was an Itala 20/30. When Francis strolls through Philadelphia, he could grace the crowds with a trip in one of his Popemobiles. The Vatican has a whole fleet of these, ranging from bulletproof Mercedes Benzes to an open-air Hyundai Francis sported for the first time in June. Though Francis earned a lot of publicity for seemingly more modest switch to a Hyundai, he has continued to use the Mercedes since then, too.

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Pope Benedict in a Popemobile during a visit to Spain. via Flickr

When you see the pope cruising in the popemobile it looks small and unimpressive, but the Benz model contains a 5 liter V8 motor and can reach a top speed of 160 mph and goes from zero to 60 in six seconds. If you wanted to get your own Popemobile, you’d have to spend around $300,000.

The other Pope car

The Popemobile is used for instances when the pope wants to interact with the crowd. He gets into the cities he’s visiting through the pope motorcade, and the cars he rides in have varied. They’ve usually been small models, including a Kia Soul for when he visited South Korea. Around the Vatican, Pope Francis has had use of a Ford Focus and a 1984 Renault that has nearly 200,000 miles on it.

The Pope Plane

Though the Vatican could certainly afford it, Pope Francis won’t be flying on something like the Air Force One, or even private jets favored by corporate leaders. Instead he’ll likely be on the pope plane, a chartered Alitalia A330 Airbus flight also known as the Shepherd One.

Two years ago, Francis made headlines for carrying his own bag as he got on the plane and his on-board accommodations are relatively modest, too. The pope generally gets the front of the plane all to himself, with his entourage in the several rows behind him. The larger, coach portion of the plane is reserved for journalists. Francis has greeted every journalist on recent trips and usually gives an impromptu press conference during the flight, speaking in Italian and often doling out his most insightful, newsworthy views.

The Pope watch

Pope Francis has been spotted wearing a watch during some of his public appearances.

It’s not known exactly what type of watch it is, but Redditors have tried to figure it out. The best-regarded answers are a plastic Swatch or some variation of the Casio MQ24-7B. Here’s where the whole people’s pope reputation comes in: That Casio model is one of the cheapest watches available on the internet. Pope John Paul II was said to have a Rolex.

The Pope phone

Pope Francis likes to chat on the phone. He’s been calling Catholics and journalists throughout his tenure. Francis has phoned the family of journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS;x an Argentine woman who wrote to him about whether she could receive communion; and many others.

The (former) Pope IPad

When Pope Francis became Pope Francis, he left his IPad behind, giving it to a high school in Uruguay. It sold at auction for $30,500, with the proceeds benefiting the school.

Want some more? Explore other The Pope in Philly stories.

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