.- As Pope Benedict XVI, prepares to touch down in the U.S. next Tuesday, New Yorkers are gobbling up Pope-related merchandise, NBC reports.
Benedict XVI gear also seems to keep multiplying the forms in which it comes. His face is emblazoned on t-shirts, key chains, hats, mugs - even a bobblehead doll.
While it could be easily interpreted as another example of consumerism, Mt. Carmel Catholic book shop worker Neil Fusco says it's about spirituality, not sales.
"It's just about the Holy Father and making him known to the world," Fusco told NBC.
The Archdiocese of New York has also launched its own papal merchandise website, which includes devotional and every day items like t-shirts and coffee mugs.
"I still have my mementos from the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul II, and I'm sure the people from this visit will have something they'll cherish forever," said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.
With the advent of the internet, things have changed since Pope John Paul IIâs visit. Not only has the variety of items increased, but the papal-themed gear is flying off the shelves.