He is one rock star pope!
Since his election at the conclave on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has been one very popular leader of the Catholic faith. And since his arrival in South Korea last Thursday, the whole country, especially the Catholic population, has been excited and busy with preparations for the ceremonies and events the Pope would preside over and attend.
(Police buses at the Myeongdong Cathedral
during the Pope's visit in Korea)
A papal visit doesn't happen every year (the last visit of Pope John Paul II was in 1989), making memorabilia and souvenirs of this visit popular, especially for Catholics like me.
So last week, a kababayan shared with me a link online featuring souvenir items that are on sale at the Catholic bookstore next to the Myeongdong Cathedral. I just had to visit the bookstore myself to check out the souvenirs myself.
When I got there, there were already a lot of parishioners (and international tourists!) shopping for these items. I guess the most popular of these items are the Pope Francis t-shirts, which were displayed outside the bookstore in boxes. They came in maroon and white colors, and I just had to get both of them! The facial expression of the Pope on the shirt was just cute. This is what I liked about the print; the Pope looks like he's having fun being a pope.
(Boxes of Pope Francis t-shirts)
Aside from the shirts, there were figurines, stickers, rosaries, books, cardholders with mirror, wrist bands, veils, hankies, keyholders, tote bags and some shopping indulgence. And basing on the long line at the check-out counter, a lot of people really liked to have a few of Pope Francis souvenir items.
(the Pope Francis t-shirts)
(Standing in line inside the bookstore
at the Myeondong Cathedral)
I wonder I'd feel holy if I wear the shirt. Or perhaps, for those who bought the Pope Francis keyholders, they wouldn't lose their keys. Ever. Ha-ha-ha!
I heard today from a friend who was at the bookstore on a Sunday that most t-shirts were sold out. I actually saw boxes of t-shirts being sold after the beatification ceremony at Gwanghwamun last Saturday, and that stall was swarmed with people interested to get Pope Francis t-shirts for themselves.
(Other Pope Francis souvenirs)
Aside from the Pope Francis souvenirs, the Korea Post also printed commemorative stamps for the Pope's visit, which I also bought at Korea Post's main office in Myeongdong. It's actually accessible from Exit 5 of the Myeongdong Station. I rushed to the Korea Post during lunch break and there weren't much people when I got there.
And if you have a bigger budget for the souvenirs, you can place an order at a bank for the commemorative coins. I haven't done that yet. Still thinking. Ha-ha-ha!
So, if you want to get some souvenirs at the bookstore, and pray for some good graces while shopping, the Myeongdong Cathedral is a walking distance from Exit 9 or 10 of Myeongdong Station.
In the meantime, with my KRW7,000 Pope Francis t-shirt, let me just enjoy feeling holy. :-)