Argentinian priest recalls Pope's earlier days

Father Pablo Munoz is originally from Argentina and knows the Pope. He stands outside of St. John the Evangelist's Roman Catholic Church on Sept. 25, 2015. ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )

Father Pablo Munoz of Argentina participated in the noon Mass at St. John the Evangelist on 13th Street, which was crowded with people from the World Meeting of Families, in addition to the regulars.

Munoz, 33, who now is a priest in Ontario, Canada, said he knows Pope Francis from Buenos Aires. Growing up, Munoz's parish priest went to kindergarten with the future pontiff.

"He was always calling up and I would answer," Munoz joked. "Before he was the Pope."

Munoz will be participating in the Mass on Sunday. He is staying in Swarthmore with the aunt and uncle of his friend Chris Wilson of Mobile, Ala., whom he met as a pastor in Washington, D.C. 

Munoz said it has been amazing to see the transformation of Jorge Bergoglio into Pope Francis. "He never thought that he was going to be the Pope," Munoz said, standing outside St. John, where a long line waited to see the touring "Major Relics" of St. Maria Goretti.

"We see a change. He was always a great person, but never like this. You see the grace of God behind him."

He said back in Argentina, the future Fiat-riding Pope Francis "never ever accepted a ride from anybody." He always took public transportation, even refusing a ride once from friends after midnight.

"He said, no, he had to be with the people, with the poor. There was no escaping."