Tourists, pilgrims scoop up first Pope Francis souvenirs

Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-14 16:37:39-04

ROME (RTV) -- The first batch of freshly-printed pictures of Pope Francis went on sale in souvenir shops around the Vatican on Thursday as eager tourists and pilgrims rushed to buy them for relatives and friends back home.

Just a few steps from St. Peter´s Square, souvenir shop owner Roberto Cataldi said many people had bought postcards and rosaries with the new pope's image.

"Yes, we've got some rosaries, about a dozen rosaries, and some pictures which show Pope Francis," Cataldi said.

He was waiting for a bigger selection of items to arrive in a few days' time - maybe before the pope's first Angelus prayer on Sunday and definitely before his inaugural mass on Tuesday.

Tourist Zoltan Brizar was planning to send pictures of the new pope to his parents.

"We went out yesterday to see the election and speech of the pope. And we liked his humility, his personality, really liked him. We came to purchase some photos of him, we are planning to send the pictures to our parents, in Europe."

Domenico Albera was also buying presents for friends and family.

"Yes, they are beautiful, beautiful. This is a souvenir of the new pope, it's very nice for some friends and relatives."

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was chosen to become the next pope on Wednesday, the second day of a closed-door conclave of cardinals.

He is the first South American pontiff, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the first to take the name Pope Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the 12th century saint who spurned wealth to pursue a life of poverty.