To commemorate Pope Francis’s fall trip to the United States, consider picking up Pope Francis: A Photographic Portrait of the People’s Pope by Father Michael Collins. This special collection presents the daily life of Pope Francis, beginning with his path from Buenos Aires to Rome and throughout an entire calendar year of religious holidays, events, and papal visits. Exclusive photos captured by Vatican photography studio Fotografia Felici include never-before-seen candid shots by Rodolfo Felici, the fifth-generation photographer in this family-run business.
Here is a Q&A with author Father Michael Collins:
Of all the moments spotlighted in the book, which one would you select as your personal favorite?
FMC: I like the photographs taken on the island of Lampedusa when Pope Francis flew from Rome to visit migrants from Africa. He originally wanted to fly with three priests on a scheduled flight. The Italian authorities would not allow that and insisted on flying on a small plane to bring the Pope to the island.
In what ways do the photographs in the book succeed in providing readers with an exceptionally intimate portrait of the pope?
FMC: Almost all of these images are candid. The Pope is by now oblivious to the constant presence of photographers. Rodolfo told me that the Pope really comes alive when he is with people. He loves meeting people. Sometimes he banters with them, others he encourages them. Pope Francis has a wonderfully expressive face and these images capture different aspects of his lively personality.
Pope Francis is first Jesuit and Latin American pope and commonly referred to as “the Pope of the people.” Can you explain some of the reasons behind Pope’s Francis’s popularity and why it is that he draws such strong crowd response?
FMC: It is difficult to say. The numbers attending events in the Vatican tripled from 2 million to almost 6 million in the first year in office. I think people like his openness and sincerity. He also speaks from the heart in easy to understand language. This makes him very attractive to many.
When Pope Benedict abdicated his position and Pope Francis was elected the new pope, what were the initial reactions from within the Catholic community and the Vatican? In his short time as pope, how has Pope Francis made an impact in his new role?
FMC: Most people were entirely taken by surprise even though Pope Benedict had intimated at least two years earlier that he contemplated retiring if his health were not suited to the requirements of the office. The Vatican as an institution does not really welcome change and found it difficult to deal with two popes.
Pope Francis: A Photographic Portrait of the People’s Pope Book Tour (Past Dates):
Wednesday, September 9
7:00 p.m. ET
THE BOOKMARK SHOPPE
8415 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11209, 718-833-5115
Thursday, September 10
7:30 p.m. ET
179 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood, NJ 07040, 973-763-9500
Friday, September 11
12:00 p.m. ET
ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL GIFT SHOP
15 East 51st St., New York, NY 10022, 212-355-2749
Saturday, September 12
1:00 p.m. ET
BARNES & NOBLE
1805 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103, 215-665-0716
Sunday, September 13
11:30 a.m. ET
BASILICA OF THE NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION BOOKSTORE
400 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017, 202-281-0623
Monday, September 14
7:00 p.m. ET
SAINT ANN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
*Offsite seller: ONE MORE PAGE BOOKS
5300 North 10th Street Arlington, VA 22205, 703-528-627
Friday, September 18
7:00 p.m. ET
PORTER SQUARE BOOKS
25 White St., Cambridge, MA 02144, 617-491-2220
About the Author
Father Michael Collins (www.fathermichaelcollins.com) is a former Vatican guide and has authored many books, including DK’s The Vatican. He has taught at a number of universities over the years, including the American University of Rome, John Cabot University, and Duquesne University, Rome Campus, and he currently serves at St. Mary’s Church in Dublin.