We know him now as Pope Francis – the spiritual leader of 1.2billion Catholics across the world.
He is also an inspiring figure for millions of people from other religious denominations.
However, Pope Francis has now revealed that he once worked in a very different environment to the Vatican – as a barman in a downtown club in Buenos Aires in his native Argentina.
His comments were reported in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
It said that the Pope took time out for an informal chat with the public while on a walkabout in one of the poorer suburbs of Rome. He visited the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino to say Mass on Sunday.
Afterwards, he chatted to excited parishioners for several hours. During the conversation he described how he had once worked in a bar and also as a night club bouncer when he was a young student. He also revealed that he had worked as a cleaner sweeping floors in a chemical laboratory when he was a teenager.
The Pope’s revelations and informal manner delighted his followers.
His easy manner and humility has led to what is becoming known as the Francis Effect. This has led to Catholic Church congregations increasing by as much as 20% in some countries.
It’s likely that his popularity and influence is also helped by his determination reject any grandeur associated with his exalted position, and to make helping the poor one of the priorities of his Papacy.