Pope Francis magazine launches in Rome

Il Mio Papa marks pontiff's first anniversary in office

A weekly magazine dedicated entirely to Pope Francis has been released in Italy, as the pontiff celebrates the anniversary of his first year in office.

The first edition of Il Mio Papa is 69 pages long, sells for just 50 cents and is produced by Mondadori, the large publishing house known for its celebrity gossip magazines and owned by former premier Silvio Berlusconi. The initial print run is reportedly three million copies, which can be bought at mewsstands throughout Italy.

The Italian fanzine is filled with photographs and covers the pope's activities, homilies, gestures and quotes of the week, as well as containing a centrefold of the smiling pontiff.

Its editor Aldo Vitali wrote in his editorial that the magazine's purpose is not so much to celebrate the pope but to help him make the world a better place.

In an interview published by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vitali underlined that the publication is not political or even overly theological. "We have no Vatican "insiders" – he says – we are people who admire and love and have a deep affection and gratitude for Pope Francis."

One year on, Rome's tourist shops continue to experience a booming trade in Pope Francis memoribilia which has even included a sticker album.

The popular Argentine pope has been linked directly to a increase in the sale of Italian and international religious publications, and in January he became the first pontiff to make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, an issue which sold above average.