Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:58:06 PM CSTUpdated On: Mar 17 2016 10:09:29 AM CDT
Pope Francis is joining Instagram this weekend under the name "Franciscus," according to the Vatican's official communication department. The social media move comes as the pope continues to ride a wave of popularity that has earned him accolades and criticisms alike. Take a look at the many reasons why Pope Francis is cool.
Pope Francis drew a huge crowd outside an optician's office in Rome on Sept. 3, 2015. He insisted on traveling to the shop contrary to the normal procedure of the optician delivering glasses to the Vatican.
The new pope first broke historic ground by choosing the name Francis, as this is the first time the name is being used by a pope. Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he was a lover of the poor.
Known as the "People's Pope," Pope Francis is known for his simple lifestyle, humble persona and breaks with tradition. He refused to move into papal palace and frequently takes public transportation.
Pope Francis likes to mix and mingle with the crowds and is adamant about the church going out among the masses. During a trip to Brazil, a frantic crowd of Catholics repeatedly surrounded and halted the vehicles he was riding in as he reached out and greeted followers.
He tweets a lot and now has more than 8 million Twitter followers, a milestone in the Vatican's drive to spread the gospel through social media.
Pope Francis revealed to church-goers that he once was a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina.
Pope Francis is a huge soccer fan, particularly of the San Lorenzo soccer club, one of Argentina's top clubs.
In April 2015, Pope Francis took two lucky 11-year-olds on a spin through St. Peter's Square on his Popemobile. Italian fifth-graders Livio Bastianelli and Davide Maria Bianchi excitedly hopped aboard when the Pope offered and later told The Associated Press, "That never happens!"
Pope Francis graced the cover of Rolling Stone in Jan. 2014 to accompany a 7,700-word profile by contributing editor Mark Binelli, who went inside the Vatican to report on Francis' swift break from tradition.
Pope Francis' Harley-Davidson motorcycle was auctioned off for $327,000 in February 2014. The money will go to a soup kitchen that serves the homeless in Rome. A retired Harley-Davidson designer had given the bike to the pope.
Pope Francis marked his 77th birthday on Dec. 17, 2013, by hosting four homeless men to a Mass and a meal at the Vatican, according to Catholic officials.
A December 2013 interview raised speculation that Pope Francis may be sneaking out of the Vatican at night to give money to the homeless. A source told The Huffington Post that "Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women."
In December 2013, two Boston College students studying in Rome held out a white zucchetto -- or skullcap -- to give to Pope Francis as he passed by. The pope stopped, took the skullcap, nodded and smiled, put it on and then gave the skullcap he had been wearing to the students, according to the Boston Globe.
In October 2013, a little boy joined Pope Francis on stage while he was delivering a speech in St. Peter's Square. The pope was relaxed about it and even let the child sit in his big white chair at one point.
Five scholarships and one graduate fellowship will honor the six students killed in the Isla Vista tragedy of May 23, 2014. The academic awards will be announced Monday, on the second anniversary of the tragedy, during a special ceremony at UCSB.