VATICAN CITY—Excitedly catching a glimpse of his name atop the cast list posted outside the Apostolic Palace, an ecstatic Pope Francis told reporters Wednesday that he had finally landed the role of a lifetime playing Mary in the annual St. Peter’s Christmas Pageant. “Oh my God, Mary—I got Mary!” said a visibly emotional Francis, immediately declaring that the casting decision was the result of years of hard work “in the trenches” playing bits parts in the pageant while practicing the manger scene alone in his papal apartment. “I never gave up. Not even when I had a non-speaking role as a wise man for three years running. Oh man, Mary! I can’t wait to play the lead opposite Archbishop Salón as Joseph. He’s such a pro. I’m sorry—I’m just gushing here. Benedict’s going to freak out when I tell him.” At press time, Pope Francis announced plans to cancel all papal duties for the rest of the year and isolate himself in his chambers in order to fully invest himself in the role.