Like parish priests throughout Italy do during the Easter season, Pope Francis spent an afternoon on 19th May going door to door and blessing homes.
Continuing the ‘Mercy Friday’ visits he began during the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis chose a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea.
The Vatican press office said Fr Plinio Poncina, parish priest of Stella Maris, put up signs on 17th May announcing a priest would be visiting the neighbourhood to bless houses. The signs, which indicate a date and give a time frame, are a common site in Italy in the weeks before and after Easter.
‘It was a great surprise today when, instead of the pastor, the one ringing the door bells was Pope Francis,’ the press office said. ‘With great simplicity, he interacted with the families, he blessed a dozen apartments’ and left rosaries for the residents.
‘Joking, he apologised for disturbing people, however he reassured them that he had respected the hour of silence for a nap after lunch in accordance with the sign posted at the entrance to the building,’ the press office said.
Picture: Pope Francis greets a resident as he arrives to give an Easter blessing to a home in a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea, on 19th May. Continuing his Mercy Friday visits, the pope blessed a dozen homes in Ostia. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).