VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis welcomed an old friend — Father Fabian Baez — to ride on his popemobile after spotting the priest in the crowd at the Jan. 8 general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
The Argentinian priest has been friends with Pope Francis since they worked together in Buenos Aires.
According to the newspaper La Nacion, Father Baez was able to get past a security barrier to get close to the Pope. He called out to the Holy Father, who turned and saw him.
“Are you with somebody or alone?” Pope Francis asked. “No, I’m alone,” the priest replied, to which Francis said, “Come on. Get in!”
Father Baez was shocked, as were the papal security guards, who once again witnessed the Holy Father break with protocol and establish his own papal style.
Pope Francis asked for the popemobile to stop so his friend could get in, and then he jokingly told the priest, “The photo is going to go around the world.”
The popemobile continued making the rounds in St. Peter’s Square as Father Baez sat next to the Holy Father.
Father Baez describes himself on his Twitter account as “a priest from Buenos Aires. My mission is to shepherd. I am on Twitter because I want you to draw close to God.”
He tweeted after the event, “I am going to change my biography. The poor priest who climbed into the popemobile today with #PapaFrancisco.”