BUENOS AIRES - The hunger to learn more about the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now and forever known as Pope Francis, is gripping the Argentinian capital.
Just back from a meeting with the new pontiff in Rome, Mauricio Macri, head of the municipal government of Buenos Aires, announced that he will launch a “pope tour," which will include an itinerary of places linked to Bergoglio, a native of the city and its longtime Archbishop.
There is still no official announcement regarding when the pope tours will begin, as the government decides whether it will hire guides or simply give out brochures that include the information of the tour.
“There are certain spots that cannot be missed!" declares Alfredo Adriani, who heads the city's religious affairs department.
Papa Francisco was baptized in the Church of María Auxiliadora, took his first communion in the College of Our Lady of Mercy and studied in the Devoto seminary. Moreover, the tour will include the Cathedral, where during 14 years he served as archbishop and Primal Cardinal of Buenos Aires. And of course, the house where he was born on December 17, 1936. "Around the world, people are curious to know more details about this Argentine pastor," notes Adriani. "People are especially curious to know how his pastoral life developed.”
A large part of the pope tour will take place in the neighborhood of Flores, where he was born and grew up. A mandatory stop will be in 531 Membrillar street, the house where he grew up. We will also visit the Herminia Brumana Plaza on Membrillar and Francisco Bilbao streets, where he played soccer with friends. Also on the tour, The Basilica San José de Flores, where Bergoglio discovered his religious vocation.
“An estimated 23% of worldwide travelers are interested in visiting religious sites or sanctuaries," declares Hernán Lombardi, head of tourism for Buenos Aires. "The new Pope being from here will give one more reason for people to visit Buenos Aires and Argentina. It is a huge stimulus to attract tourists from all around the world.”