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No Pope Francis In Chicago? Meet Flat Francis Instead

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Pope Francis won't be visiting Chicago on his trip to the U.S., so many people have been making do with a drawing of him as "Flat Francis."

A nearly four-foot-high cardboard version of the cartoon drawing Flat Francis was at Daley Plaza for a couple hours Tuesday morning. Flat Francis was the idea of the Catholic Extension Society, an organization that raises money for some of the poorest communities and dioceses in the U.S.

Catholic Extension Society president Rev. Jack Wall said he got a big belly laugh out of Pope Francis a few weeks ago in Rome, after showing him the cartoon drawing.

"His ability to connect to the humor of it is just him. He's a guy who keeps on telling us that the gospel is about joy, and the joy of the gospel, and he absolutely lives that," Wall said.


The Catholic Extension Society has been encouraging people to share pictures of themselves with Flat Francis on social media, along with the hashtag #FlatFrancis.

John Neral, of Washington, D.C., was in Chicago for business on Tuesday, and had his picture taken with Flat Francis in front of the Picasso at Daley Plaza.

"I think it's really neat. I heard it on the news this morning. I thought it was great. It just generates a lot of excitement about Pope Francis' visit to the States," he said.

Also among those who stood next to Flat Francis at Daley Plaza was Carrole Holloway, who said she's been homeless for four years, and enjoyed getting her picture taken next to the cartoon of the pontiff.

"I think it's funny. I think you've got to laugh, because the pope's got jokes," she said.

You can print your own Flat Francis by clicking here.


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