Here's What A Day In The Life Of Pope Francis Really Looks Like

Pope Francis is one of the most famous people on the planet, and like most celebrities, he lives his life in the public eye. You know his face and some of his achievements. But, have you ever wondered what he gets up to away from the cameras? What does the Pope do all day?

The Pope's daily routine is fairly normal, all things considered. He wakes up early, celebrates mass, and eats surprisingly unfussy meals – though he apparently longs to nosh on pizza. Outside of his public engagements, the day-to-day schedule of the Pope is essentially up to him. Typically, it's more filled with appointments and prayers than rides in the Popemobile.

Since he was elected in 2013, following years of sometimes-controversial service in Argentina and elsewhere, Pope Francis has become known for his comparatively progressive views and welcoming demeanor. "The People's Pope" is regarded as genuinely humble, so you probably won't be surprised to learn that he also chooses to live as humbly as possible.

  • His Day Starts At 4.30 A.M.

    His Day Starts At 4.30 A.M.
    Photo: Johannes Müller / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Pope is a very early riser. He's always up before 5 a.m., and then spends the next two hours praying, studying scripture, and getting the morning's homily prepared.

    His digs are surprisingly modest, too. Traditionally, the Pope resides in the grand papal apartment at the top of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, but Pope Francis felt he would be more comfortable in a two-room home in the Domus Santa Marta, a hotel-style building located behind a gas station, of all places.

    His neighbors include the cardinals who selected him during the conclave.

  • He Celebrates An Intimate Mass At 7 A.M.

    He Celebrates An Intimate Mass At 7 A.M.
    Photo: Gugganij / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    At 7 a.m., Pope Francis heads down to celebrate mass in Santa Martha's chapel, usually dressed down in a simple liturgical cloth. Rather than make a grand entrance with an entourage of alter boys, he chooses to slip in from the side. Sébastien Maillard, the Vatican correspondent for Rome's La Croix, described this semi-public event as "the most privileged way to watch and get close to him."

    The Pope always frames his message with a "thought of the day," and when he's finished, he moves silently to the back of the chapel to pray among the select attendees. As the Pope leaves, he'll make sure to personally greet every person gathered outside the chapel in the atrium.

  • He Eats Breakfast At 8 A.M. And Never Dines Alone

    He Eats Breakfast At 8 A.M. And Never Dines Alone
    Photo: Christoph Wagener / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Following mass, Pope Francis makes his way to the hotel's cafeteria for breakfast, usually at about 8 a.m. He has a "usual" table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and never dines alone. A few privileged guests keep him company, while other visitors sit in the dining hall and try not to stare at him too much.

    So, what does a papal breakfast look like? For Pope Francis, it's normally freshly squeezed orange juice and membrillo (quince paste) – a popular dish from his homeland, Argentina. Apparently, kosher food was served once when rabbi friends of his dined with him.

  • He Spends Most Of The Morning Working From His Home Office

    He Spends Most Of The Morning Working From His Home Office
    Photo: Giulio Romano / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    If he doesn't have a day full of official meet-and-greets, Pope Francis will withdraw after breakfast to his second-floor Santa Marta residence. The entire floor has been appropriated to serve as a home office for him, and according to journalist Antonio Spadaro, "the setting is simple, austere. The workspace occupied by the desk is small." Decorations are restricted to religious objects.

    The Pope busies himself by reading, reciting the rosary, or traveling to the Apostolic Palace to address formal audiences.

  • He Likes To Set His Own Agenda For Each Day

    He Likes To Set His Own Agenda For Each Day
    Photo: Ryan Lim (Malacañang Photo Bureau) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Pope Francis likes to be in charge of his papal routine as much as possible. He decides who he sees, and for how long. Often, the Pope will book the appointments himself over the phone. If he receives a letter he feels especially touched by, he'll phone the sender directly.

    The Pope often spends his Sundays corresponding with his friends in Argentina, including those in prison he used to visit while living there. He must rack up quite the phone bill for the Vatican.

  • He Has Lunch After 1 P.M. (And Wishes It Was Pizza)

    He Has Lunch After 1 P.M. (And Wishes It Was Pizza)
    Photo: Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Pope Francis usually returns to the Santa Marta dining room around 1 p.m. for lunch. The food served is in the style of a typical Italian trattoria. According to visitors, he's not a fussy eater at all, happily eating anything he's given.

    However, Pope Francis has admitted that he's particularly fond of one famous Italian specialty: pizza. He apparently misses going out and getting one after watching his soccer team, San Lorenzo, play in his home city of Buenos Aires.