VATICAN CITY — Members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America were holding their daily staff meeting when an unexpected visitor came to their door: Pope Francis.
The pope made a surprise visit July 13 to the commission’s office while staff members were coordinating the upcoming Continental Jubilee of Mercy celebration, which will take place in Bogota, Colombia.
According to the commission’s website, a staff member opened the door and was stunned “when she found herself in front of none other than the vicar of Christ on earth who, nonetheless, seemed to make a completely natural and routine (visit).”
“Good morning. May I come in?” the pope said.
One commission member rushed to the other members, informing them of the pope’s visit.
“Our reaction was delayed a few seconds as we tried to comprehend what she meant: Was he on the phone? Did something happen? But incredibly, we started to hear his voice as he made his way down the hallway. We stood up and Dr. (Guzman) Carriquiry went up immediately to meet him at the door of his office. ‘Good morning, do you have a little time to talk?’ he (pope) said in a serious tone,'” the website stated.
While the pope spoke in private with Carriquiry, staff members spoke with a member of the papal security detail, who said Pope Francis decided to visit the Latin American commission’s office following a dental appointment at the Vatican.
Upon being advised by security personnel that such a visit would be “very complicated,” the pope said: “‘I am the pope. Don’t worry, we are in God’s hands,'” the commission’s site stated.
Following his private meeting, the pope remained several minutes with staff, drinking coffee with them. He also posed for photos with commission staff members before departing for his residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae,
The Pontifical Commission for Latin America also made it clear that despite the pope’s impromptu visit, it should not “be counted among the protocol visits the Holy Father makes with the offices and various departments of the Roman Curia.”
“Therefore, we are still waiting for an ‘official’ visit by Pope Francis to the commission,” the website stated, adding that members were aware it may seem ambitious and expecting more than they deserve.