Oddball Pope Francis swag brings out the capitalists

PHILADELPHIA—When Joan Leitner joins relatives next month for a potluck papal party to celebrate Pope Francis’ visit here, she will bring the pontiff himself—in the form of a block of un-holey mozzarella cheese shaped to resemble the Holy Father.

“When I first saw it, I thought it might be a little irreverent,” said Ms. Leitner, a 58-year-old office worker from South Philadelphia. But when the pastor of her Catholic church offered his blessing, she said, “I was right with it—I’m in.”

She preordered four pope cheeses at $20 apiece from the Pastificio Homemade Pasta Co., down the street from her home.

If she were so inclined, Ms. Leitner could spread it on a slice of toast bearing the pope’s visage, using the Pope Toaster sold by an area marketer. She could wash it all down with any of several papal-themed beers from area breweries, with names like You Only Pope Once and Holy Wooder, a play on the distinctive Philly accent.

And for the occasion, she could don one of many locally flavored T-shirts. Choices range from the understated—a shirt with a waving Pope Francis amid images of the Liberty Bell and the LOVE sculpture—to the edgy: “Yo Pontiff!” and “The Pope is My Homeboy.”

Pope Francis’ six-day visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia next month has generated huge excitement among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The capitalists among them are pretty pumped, too.

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An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oddball-pope-francis-swag-brings-out-the-capitalists-2015-08-26

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