Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:58:06 PM ESTUpdated On: Dec 23 2014 10:15:15 AM EST
In June, Pope Francis made headlines when he excommunicated members of the Mafia and then halted his motorcade on the way back home to the Vatican to bless a severely disabled young woman.
In April, 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!"
In honor of Valentine's Day, Pope Francis offered his advice on how to have a happy marriage before thousands of young engaged couples in St. Peter's Square.
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 graced the cover of the Jan. 27 issue of Rolling Stone for a 7,700-word profile by contributing editor Mark Binelli, who went inside the Vatican to report on Francis' swift break from tradition.
In a recent interview with an Italian newspaper, Pope Francis told a story of how he once encouraged a mother to not be ashamed to breastfeed her hungry baby in public. Take a look at other interesting deeds, statements and facts that make Pope Francis cool.
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.
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.
Pope Francis blasted the Vatican's top bureaucrats at an annual Christmas gathering on Dec. 22, accusing the cardinals, bishops and priests who make up the Curia of "spiritual Alzheimer's" and of lusting for power at all costs.
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."
Pope Francis revealed to church-goers that he once was a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina.
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.
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 is a lover of the poor.
He tweets a lot and now has over 10 million Twitter followers, a milestone in the Vatican's drive to spread the gospel through social media.
Pope Francis is a huge soccer fan, particularly of the San Lorenzo soccer club, one of Argentina's top clubs.
Pope Francis raised eyebrows with his comments about gays, telling reporters "Who am I to judge?" when referring to homosexuals who embrace God.
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 made history in late March 2013 when he washed the feet of young prisoners in Rome for his Holy Thursday service.
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.
Pope Francis has said that atheists aren't necessarily going to hell. His stance is that all people who do good works, including atheists, are going to heaven. "God's mercy does not have limits and therefore it reaches nonbelievers, too, for whom sin would not be the lack of faith in God, but rather, failure to obey one's conscience."
When asked in an in-depth interview with a Jesuit magazine in Rome, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergolio?" the pope's answer was blunt and honest. "I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner."