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article imagePope Francis draws crowd during visit to optician for new glasses

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 9, 2015 in World
People in Rome, where Vatican City is of course located, are accustomed to seeing the Pope. He does, after all, have a weekly address and is present at other events. But on Tuesday evening some got an extra glimpse of him — buying new glasses.
Pope Francis, the Argentinian Pope, the first Jesuit Pope, the first from the Americas, decided he needed eyeglasses, apparently without much planning, and so had himself driven in his rather small and gas-saving Ford Focus, to the Ottica Spiezia on Rome's rather trendy Via del Babuino.
The owner of the optician store, Alessandro Spiezia, said he has provided glasses to Popes before but never has one shown up in the store to try glasses on for himself and make the purchase. Perhaps the reason Pope Francis went for new glasses in person is because he misses being on the streets of Rome so much.
Before becoming Pope in March of 2013, Pope Francis has said he used to walk about Rome a lot — he enjoyed a pizza slice now and again — and that it's something he misses badly because now, as Pope, he can no longer do it.
In any case, he created a minor stir with customers and people on the street. And he surprised owner Spiezia by not only making the decision in person, but by controlling the entire transaction.
"He had told me to use the old frames again because he did not want to spend much money," Spiezia told an Italian TV station. "And he insisted on paying for them."
The Pope was accompanied by an assistant, a bodyguard and some police officers. He was inside the store for about half an hour and afterwards spent some time with the crowd that had gathered outside.
One of the last things he did with his old glasses was read from a speech at the Vatican on Sunday in which he called on European members of the Catholic Church to take in Syrian refugees. The Vatican is taking in two Syrian families, he said.
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