Sounds like a Standard Wednesday Audience with Papa F.
This Wednesday’s audience meets Carnivale as one cheeky little chap catches the Pontiff’s eye and wins a famous papal kiss.
Dressed from head to toe in a mini pope’s outfit, with robe, stole and zucchetto to boot, the young fellow was scooped up into the Holy Father’s arms amidst a crowd of faithful, all scrambling to get a glimpse, or maybe even a blessing from the man in white (the real one, that is).
‘Pedro Ciabatini’ is the toddler’s name, but he will probably have a rather different nickname for some time to come!
Nana sewed her grandson’s outfit for the occasion of Carnivale – a weeklong time of festivity around Italy – even hanging a mini papal cross around his neck. “We did it as an act of affection for the Holy Father” his mother told Aleteia, “not to ridicule him. We wanted to receive a blessing from the original Pope.”
Unfortunately Pedro didn’t seem too happy to be up in the spotlight; he was perhaps a little too young to realize just whom he was getting a kiss from!
During the audience, besides congratulating everyone for braving the wet weather that was forecast, Pope Francis talked about the significance of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
“This anointing enables Christ to come nearer to us in our sufferings” he affirms.
“There exists the idea that after a priest visits a sick person, the coffin follows straight away; but this isn’t true. The priest arrives to help the sick person; it is Jesus who comes to give them the hope, and to forgive their sins.
“And this is beautiful!” he exclaimed with arms thrown wide to the crowd.
According to the Holy Father, through this sacrament, the whole of the Christian community as one untied body joins those who are suffering, sustaining them with faith and hope: “We need to get into the habit of calling upon our priests so that the sick person is able to find strength and hope” he says.
The Holy Father finished the audience by making a particular plea for peace in Venezuela.
“I am following with particular concern what is happening these days in Venezuela” he says. “I sincerely hope that violence and hostility will cease as soon as possible, and that the whole Venezuelan People, beginning with political leaders and institutions, will endeavour to promote reconciliation through mutual forgiveness and a sincere dialogue, respectful of truth and justice, that is capable of dealing with concrete issues for the common good.”
“As I assure you of my constant prayer, especially for those who lost their lives in the fighting and for their families, I invite all believers to lift up prayers to God, through the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Coromoto, so that the country might quickly find peace and harmony.”
Christiane Sales contributed to this article