This afternoon, the second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Holy Father Francis made a pastoral visit to the parish of Santa Maria a Setteville in Guidonia, Rome.
Upon arrival, at around 3.40 p.m., the Pope greeted the deputy priest, Don Giuseppe Berardino, aged 50, who has suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for more than two years. During the meeting, which lasted ten minutes, the Holy Father whispered some words of comfort to the priest, now bedridden, immobile and unable to speak. After silent prayer, the Pope administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
The Pope then encountered the various parish groups, including thirty elderly and sick people, including children with Down’s Syndrome; catechumens and many young people on their post-Confirmation path, and a group of scouts with whom he remained for more than half an hour, responding to various questions.
The Holy Father went on to greet 45 children, all baptised during 2016, and he reminded their parents of the importance of the family. This was followed by a meeting with around a hundred faithful who help the parish priest, Don Luigi Tedoldi, in his pastoral work. The Pope dispensed some advice to them, focusing on the value of the mission.
Then, after greeting the priests and the five seminarians of the parish, the Holy Father Francis proceeded to the Sacristy where he confessed four penitents: a young couple, who care for the deputy priest, a youth on the post-Confirmation path, and the father of a sick child.
At around 5.40 p.m., the Pope presided at the celebration of Holy Mass in the parish church. After the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Father pronounced an impromptu homily.
At around 7 p.m., before leaving the parish, the Holy Father greeted the many faithful gathered in front of the church since midday, who had followed the visit via the maxi-screens installed for the occasion, and at 7.40 p.m. he returned to the Vatican.