The secret to a packed travel schedule for Pope Francis, according to Vatican officials, is simple: a strict habit of sleeping, naps, prayer and meditation.
At home or away, “he’s got discipline,” said the Rev. Manuel Dorantes, a Vatican spokesman who traveled with the pope in the United States.
Just as he does at the Vatican, Pope Francis retreated to his bedroom by 9 p.m. during his U.S. visit this year. He usually reads for an hour before dozing off—he hasn’t watched TV since 1990. Waking at 4 a.m., the first thing he does before meeting with anyone is pray alone for two hours. That way, before anyone comes in to help, inform or advise him, he feels connected.
The pope’s U.S. schedule had him starting public events between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. and ending between 6 and 8 p.m. Each day included hours of unscheduled time. In New York, that included about four hours between attending a late-morning interfaith service at the September 11 site and a late-afternoon visit to a Catholic school.
The gaps are by design. Sleep is an elixir for the pope, including naps. He usually takes a 40-minute midday nap.
— Adapted from “The Secret To How Pope Francis Keeps His Hectic Travel Schedule,” Jaweed Kaleem, The Huffington Post.