Fans of San Lorenzo, one of Argentina’s most popular football clubs, are in heaven: one of their own just became pope, a feather in the cap for a team founded by a priest.
“The new pope, from San Lorenzo, is more important even than Diego Maradona or [tango singer] Carlos Gardel,” enthused Marcelo Ladelfa, invoking the most Argentinian of superlatives.
The 45-year-old worker admitted he was bowled over by the cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s election as leader of the 1.2-billion-strong Catholic Church.
A longtime San Lorenzo fan who lived near the club, Bergoglio is now Pope Francis and, said Ladelfa, “the most illustrious person in the history of Argentina.”
The pope is member number 88.235N of the San Lorenzo club, a first division team also known as the Cyclones or the Saints of Boedo.
He was born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Boedo, where the club was historically headquartered, and grew up in the nearby Flores neighborhood, where it later moved.
The club’s religious links go way back. It was founded in 1908 by a parish priest, Lorenzo Massa, with the aim of getting young boys off the streets and educating them through sports. To this day, San Lorenzo fans are known as “Crows,” after the black cassock of the club’s founding priest.