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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Visiting a Roman parish

This afternoon, the Holy Father, Pope Francis paid a pastoral visit to the Parish of Santa Maria in Setteville di Guidonia (Rome).

Upon his arrival, at approximately 3:40pm, the Pope greeted the Associate Pastor, Father Giuseppe Berardino, aged 50 years who is gravely ill, suffering from ALS for more than two years.  During their meeting, which lasted about 10 minutes, the Holy Father spoke with the priest in whispers - he has been bedridden and it is impossible for him to speak - offering him some words of comfort.  After a silent prayer, the Pope then administered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to Father Berardino.

Then, the Pontiff met with various pastoral groups who are part of the parish: thirty elderly and sick persons, among which were three children suffering from Downs Syndrome; young adults who are being catechized, including many who have completed their Confirmation and a group of Scouts, with whom he spent more than 30 minutes.

Afterwards, the Holy Father greeted 45 children, all of whom were baptized during the year 2016, and reminded their parents of the importance of family life.  Then, there was a meeting held with approximately one hundred faithful who assist the pastor, Father Luigi Tedoldi with the administration of the parish.  To them, the Pontiff gave various kinds of advice, focusing on the value of their mission.

Then, after having greeted the priests and the five seminarians who are part of the parish, the Holy Father went to the sacristy to hear the confessions of four penitents: one young couple, who are caring for the Associate Pastor, a young girl who has recently celebrated Confirmation and the father of a sick child.

At approximately 5:40pm, the Pope presided over the celebration of the Mass in the parish church.  Following the proclamation of the gospel, the Holy Father shared an impromptu homily.

At approximately 7:00pm, before leaving the parish, the Pope greeted many of the faithful who were gathered in front of the church.  They had been there since mid-day and were able to follow the various aspects of his visit on a jumbo-tron which had been installed for the occasion.

At 7:40pm, the Holy Father returned to the Vatican.

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