As a tourist, I've visited the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Square and many of the other attractions in and around the Vatican that we saw on TV news reports last week.
I've never had an audience with the pope.
But as an automotive reporter, I connected with the so-called Irish Popemobile that shuttled Pope John Paul II around the Emerald Isle in 1979. With the new pope's election coming just a few days before St. Patrick's Day, it seems like a good time to share the story.
In October 1979, just after the pope's three-day visit, I was in Ireland and went to Henry Ford & Son Ltd. in Cork. It was Henry Ford's first overseas venture and had been assembling Ford vehicles since 1919.
Ford built the Irish Popemobile. And it wasn't just one of those small armored limousines used since the papal assassination attempts in the 1980s.