It’s common knowledge that St. Peter guards the pearly gates. But what many people might not know is Pope Francis used to guard the door at a bar in Argentina.
That’s right: Pope Francis used to be a bar bouncer.
The 76-year-old pontiff disclosed his previous vocation in a parish visit to the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome on Sunday, the Catholic News Service reported.
The nugget from Francis’ past, when he used to be known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was disclosed during a four-hour conversation, in which the pope also mentioned he used to sweep floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager.
The anecdote is yet another example of Francis’ growing reputation as a “pope of the people.” Since ascending to the papacy in March, Francis has eschewed such trappings as the Popemobile, washed the feet of prisoners and has shown a penchant for showing up unannounced wherever the faithful gather.
Last month, photos of Francis cradling and kissing the head of a man covered with tumors went viral, providing a powerful image of a pope dedicated to helping the poor.
In turn, Francis’ popularity has sparked renewed interest in the church. A recent survey by sociologist Massimo Introvigne of Catholic clergy in Italy noted an increase in the numbers attending Mass and confession since Francis’ election. In Italy alone, more than 100,000 are “returning,” often after decades of non-attendance.
Fox News’ Courtney Walsh contributed to this report.