Today’s lunch special in the Vatican cafeteria: Pope Francis!


Not your average Friday lunch crowd. (L'Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images)

Popes: They're just like us!

Pope Francis wandered into the Vatican's employee canteen "like a thunderbolt out of the blue" Friday  after apparently deciding that he'd like to eat lunch alongside the Vatican's staff.

Francis, Vatican Radio said, waited in line with the rest of the employees for his lunch of pasta, cod and grilled tomatoes.

Canteen chef Franco Pai'ni told Vatican Radio that the pope sat with Vatican employees, asked them about their work and hung around afterward to compliment the food and take a few photos.

Except his meal was not exactly identical to theirs: The pope's was free.

Cashier Claudia Di Giacomo told the Catholic News Service that she "didn't have the courage to give him the bill" when he came over to the register.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano (whose employees, by the way, apparently also eat at this particular canteen), reported that Francis also discussed soccer and the economy with the Vatican pharmacy warehouse workers sitting at his table.

The surprise cafeteria appearance came on the same day that news reports circulated about a possible papal visit to Philadelphia. No word yet on whether  Francis plans to lunch at Geno's Steaks.


"Pass the salt, please." (L'Osservatore Romano/AFP)
Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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