Parish priest tells WGN about surprise visit with Pope Francis

The newly-elected Pope Francis shows his independent streak.

He began his first full day as the pontiff-elect on Thursday by slipping quietly into the Basilica of St. Mary Major. He snuck into the building through a side door. He laid down flowers in the chapel of Salus Popoli Romani and prayed. He left about 30 minutes later.

WGN’s Dina Bair has been covering the papal election in Vatican City, and talked with the parish priest who had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pray with Pope Francis.

“We are all happy. He’s a friendly guy. We got what we prayed for,” said the priest.

While people across the world watched the emergence of the new pope, one family just missed it.

The Houstons left St. Peter’s Square shortly before the new pope was introduced. They were there for about three hours, but decided to leave because of the windy and rainy conditions.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this report.

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