The Pope begins his “Fridays of mercy” – Vincent told us to love God with the sweat of our brows and the strength of our arms. St. Francis believed that we should preach always and even use words if we must. Pope Francis certainly continues his preaching by example and offers us an example of translating the spiritual and corporal works of mercy into our personal routines.
True to form, the pope of the surprise papal visit dropped by two different nursing homes in Rome unannounced on Friday. The visits kicked off the Pope’s monthly works of mercy, which he plans to do on Fridays during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Pope’s first visit on Friday, Jan. 15 was to the Bruno Buozzi Retirement Home on Via di Torre Spaccata, on the outskirts of Rome, which houses 33 elderly people.
Pope Francis was able to speak briefly with each person during his visit. He was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Before returning to the Vatican, the pope made a second surprise stop at the “Casa Irde,” a home where six persons in a vegetative state live with their families and are provided assistance.
According to a Vatican statement, with these visits, Pope Francis wanted to emphasize the great importance of elderly persons, of grandparents, and the value and dignity of life in every situation.
In December, Pope Francis said in an interview with the official website for the Jubilee of Mercy that he would be making “different gestures” of mercy once a month on Fridays during the Holy Year.
“The revolution of tenderness is that which, today, we must cultivate as a fruit of this year of mercy: the tenderness of God toward each one of us,” the Pope told the official Jubilee publication ‘Credere’.
Canon 1250 All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
The United States Bishops write in their Pastoral Statement on Lent…
15. Let us witness to our love and imitation of Christ, by special solicitude for the sick, the poor, the underprivileged, the imprisoned,the bedridden, the discouraged, the stranger, the lonely, and persons of other color, nationalities, or backgrounds than our own. A catalogue of not merely suggested but required good works under these headings is provided by Our Blessed Lord Himself in His description of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:34-40). This salutary word of the Lord is necessary for all the year, but should be heeded with double care during Lent.