Partying with Pope Francis swag

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POPEMANIA Is Sweeping The East Coast

Tens of thousands of people have strained to catch glimpses of Pope Francis as he's made his way through Washington, D.C., and vendors along every route have been ready with plenty of pope-themed merchandise for the masses.

T-shirts, buttons and stickers emblazoned with the likeness of the wildly popular pontiff are plentiful, but for the truly faithful the offerings are even more diverse. Prayer beads, pens, plush toys, bobble-heads, sunglasses, scented candles, coffee mugs, magnets, key chains and even underwear featuring the 78-year-old Argentine's image are all for sale. Not hungry for fishes or loaves? A pasta place in Philadelphia offers a slab of fresh mozzarella sculpted in the shape of the Holy See. And why drink water or wine when at least four limited-edition beers have been brewed for the Bishop of Rome?

See Pope Francis souvenirs:

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Partying with Pope Francis swag

A Pope bobblehead is one of many Pope Francis themed souvenirs for sale at White House Gifts before the Popes first official visit to the United States in Washington, USA on September 21, 2015.

Also available on Amazon.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Pope Francis figurines are for sale at the makeshift Pope memorabilia store before Pope Francis arrives at the Basilica at Catholic University to celebrates mass of Canonization for Juniper Serra on September 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Junipero Serra was an 18th century Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja, California to bring Christianity to the indigenous population.

Similar version available on Amazon.

(Photo by Evy Mages/Getty Images)

A man buys a souvenir medal with a picture of Pope Francis at a machine inside the Saint Patrick Cathedral in New York on August 28, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the US on September 22-27, stopping in Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia.

Similar version available on Amazon.

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A man shows a medal he bought with a picture of Pope Francis from a machine inside the Saint Patrick Cathedral in New York on August 28, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the US on September 22-27, stopping in Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia.

Similar version available on Amazon.

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Souvenirs with the image of Pope Francis are for sale at the gift shop at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on August 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pope Francis will be celebrating Mass at the National Shrine on September 23, 2015, where he will canonize Junipero Serra, the Spanish missionary who introduced Christianity to California in the 18th century.

Similar version available on Amazon.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A man looks at gifts near a Pope Francis display at a souvenir store in Washington, DC on August 27, 2015. Pope Francis will travel to the United States from September 22-27, stopping in Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Saint Juniper Serra Prayer cards are for sale at the makeshift Pope memorabilia store before Pope Francis arrives at the Basilica at Catholic University to celebrates mass of Canonization for Juniper Serra on September 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Junipero Serra was an 18th century Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja, California to bring Christianity to the indigenous population. This is the first-ever canonization by a Pope on U.S. soil. Pope Francis is on a multi-city tour on his first visit to the U.S. as Pope. (Photo by Evy Mages/Getty Images)
Darry Seldana, an employee of Artuso Pastry, makes cookies with the Pope Francis' image on September 23, 2015 in New York. Artuso's Pastry recently received a single order for 10,000 cookies in Florida, adding to the 20,000 they're already fulfilling ahead of the Pope's visit to New York City. AFP PHOTO/WILLIAM EDWARDS (Photo credit should read William Edwards/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis bobble heads are displayed at a souvenir store in Washington, DC on August 27, 2015. Pope Francis will travel to the United States from September 22-27, stopping in Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia.AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

Rosaries with the image of Pope Francis are selling at the Catholic University of America, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, gift shop on September 3, 2015, prior to the visit to of the Pope on September 23, 2015.

Similar version available on Amazon.

(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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D.C. Shirt & Print owner John Esser says he's never seen such demand for memorabilia around any other visit by a head of state.

SEE ALSO: Bobblehead, umbrella, mug or magnet? Pope souvenirs abound

"There has never been this kind of push for apparel when anybody else visits D.C.," Esser says, noting that he sold most of his Francis-themed goods to church groups and nonprofits visiting the nation's capital who requested the name of their organization be printed along with the dates of the trip.

A Philadelphia-themed pope shirt.

In Philadelphia, where Francis will wrap up his three-city U.S. tour this weekend after a stop in New York, entrepreneurs appear especially eager to cash in on the craze for pope-inspired swag.

Graphic design group Pope is Dope Philly, for instance, created shirts and buttons featuring Francis alongside iconic depictions of the city from movies and TV shows like "Rocky" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Gabe Weiner, a project manager for the group, says people of all ages have expressed interest in his pope gear. He sees that as a sign the spiritual leader has become "hip" among progressives and millennials for things like his strong stand on climate change and his openness to discussing the roles of gay people and divorcees within the church.

"It's nice to see a pope who has tried to appeal to a younger and broader audience," he says.

Despite working hard to ensure Pope is Dope's depictions "didn't offend anybody," a few eyebrows were raised by a shirt poking fun at a rivalry between two well-known Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurants, Weiner says. The shirt includes a caricature of the pope holding two cheesesteaks over the caption, "Who am I to judge," which the Catholic leader famously said when asked his views about priests who are homosexual.

Speaking of cheese, a pasta company called Pastificio in the City of Brotherly Love this month began advertising a 6-inch, 1 pound sculpture of the pontiff made entirely of mozzarella. At $20, the price may be fairer than the resemblance.

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And those craft beers? Local breweries have created limited edition batches for the pontiff's visit, including Manayunk Brewing Company's "Papal Pleasure," Crime + Punishment's "Jesus Wept," and the Philadelphia Brewing Company's "Holy Wooder."

But lest anyone worry that the opportunistic merchandising is a further sign of the "unfettered capitalism" that was a subject recently of one of Francis' rare fiery tirades, at least some good is coming from the pope-product proceeds.

Pope is Dope says it will donate 20 percent of its sales to the nuns at Mount Saint Joseph's Convent in Philadelphia.

Sister Kathleen Pales, development director of the convent, says she and the sisters are "very grateful" for the donation and that Pope is Dope merchandise is "very clever."

"Pope Francis is all about helping others, about helping the poor," she says. "I would hope people would donate as much to helping the poor and feeding the homeless as they would spend on buying a T-shirt."

Check out Pope Francis in NYC:
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Pope Francis in NYC, St. Patricks Cathedral
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Partying with Pope Francis swag
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Pope Francis arrives for a multi-religious service at the site of the 9/11 memorial and Museum on September 25, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara - Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Pope Francis speaks during a multi-religious prayer for peace at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 25, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis is in New York on a two day visit and will carry out a number of engagements including a Papal motorcade through Central Park and a Mass in Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Pope Francis celebrates evening prayers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on September 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis greets people as he leaves St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on his first trip to the United States, visiting Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia. (Photo by Chad Rachman-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis speaks to the congregation at St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on his first trip to the United States, visiting Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia. (Photo by Chad Rachman-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis walks across the altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on his first trip to the United States, visiting Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia. (Photo by Chad Rachman-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis is assisted as he leads a service at St Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis is in New York on a two day visit and will carry out a number of engagements including a Papal motorcade through Central Park and a Mass in Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Parishioners wait for Pope Francis to arrive at Saint Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is scheduled to celebrate vespers, or evening prayers, and a shared a reflection after a procession down 5th Ave. (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis leads a service at St Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis is in New York on a two day visit and will carry out a number of engagements including a Papal motorcade through Central Park and a Mass in Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves as he approaches the St Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves as he approaches St Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis makes his way down 5th Avenue in New York City on his way to St. Patrick's in New York City September 24, 2015 . The Pope will hold a prayer service at St. Patricks Cathedral . AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis acknowledges well-wishers outside St. Patrick's Cathedral as New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L) and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (C) look on September 24, 2015 in New York City. The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Damon Winter-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Crowds cheer as Pope Francis drives down 5th Avenue while on his way to St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope will offer evening prayers tonight at St. Patrick's Cathedral. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves as he approaches St. Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Spectators watch from the corner of 51st Street and Fifth Avenue trying to get a glimpse of Pope Francis as he enters St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Aristide Economopoulos-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis gestures as he approaches the St Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis gets off his mobile as he arrives at St. Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis arrives at the St Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers in New York on September 24, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his US tour where he will address the UN General Assembly, visit the 9/11 Memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis is given a gift during his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on his first trip to the United States, visiting Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia. (Photo by Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis makes his way down 5th Avenue in New York City on his way to St. Patricks in New York City September 24, 2015 . The Pope will hold a prayer service at St. Patricks Cathedral . AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (R) and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (L) wait outside St. Patrick's Cathedral for the arrival of Pope Francis September 24, 2015 in New York City. Maryland.The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Damon Winter-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is on his first trip to the United States, visiting Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia. (Photo by Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)
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