Pope Francis has always had a memorable sense of humour, according to former colleagues of the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
An interview by NBC Philadelphia with Silvia Tuozzo and Julio Rimoldi, who both knew the Pope simply as Fr Jorge when they worked together, revealed their boss not only had a good sense of humour but he was also “a brilliant man, a great communicator and benevolent.”
Fr Jorge, now Pope Francis, was their boss at the television station, Channel 21, in Buenos Aires. Julio was the Director and Silvia was the Deputy Director. The pair explain with great amusement, a moment with Pope Francis that left the workplace in bursts of laughter.
“Julio got so upset one morning because he was arguing with Fr Jorge. Later that day, Fr Jorge, the man who would later become Pope, came back to administer the Last Rites to Julio.”
Needless to say, “they all got a good laugh out of that one,” NBC reported.
The story is just one of many that reveals Pope Francis’ humour but also his humanity and humility. This is made clear in Elisabetta Piquee’s book, Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio, as she details another fond moment between Julio and the Pope:
“He didn’t watch television, but he was given many DVDs, including ‘Life is Beautiful’. One day he said to me, ‘I want to see it.’ I answered, ‘I’ll bring you a DVD player.’ ‘No, what are you doing on Saturday? Shall we watch it together?’ Every now and then he would call me. He came up to the studio, we’d have some coffee and watch a film. ‘Bring a couple of pastries,’ he’d ask me, because he adored sweets. Actually, as he always gave away everything he was given, I started giving him boxes of sweets already opened.”
Julio and Silvia have unique memories with the Pope when he was just Fr Jorge, but Julio says he always knew Fr Jorge was made for something greater, as explained in Piquee’s biography:
“I know that Channel 21 is one of the projects he’s most fond of and which he carries in his heart. In fact, I could say that Channel 21 is one of the new things he brought to the diocese. And I can quote words the Cardinal said, and not only to me: ‘If I go down in history, it’ll be because of the television channel’. I’ve always answered: ‘I don’t believe it!’ And I haven’t been wrong.”
Pope Francis is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church. He is the first Jesuit to hold the title and is celebrated for his outreach to the poor.