12 families on the Roman outskirts waiting for their parish priest for the Easter blessing had a surprise
On May 19, 2017, the Pontiff continued the “Mercy Friday” initiative, a practice that began during the Jubilee of Mercy (2015-2016) in order to put into practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
“Sorry for the inconvenience; I have respected the silence schedule for the after lunchtime siesta, right?” said Pope Francis joking, as he encountered, at the entrance of the apartments, different notices encouraging residents and visitors to maintain a “healthy coexistence” and “avoid annoying noises.”
The parish priest of Stella Maris (one of the six parishes of Ostia, on the peripheries of Rome), Fr. Plinio Poncina, said two days ago he would bless the houses of a popular residential complex: a place where lower-income families and pensioners, who cannot afford to pay rent, live. In most cases, the local mayor assigns them an apartment.
The families that were informed they would receive a visit from the parish priest for the traditional Easter blessing this Friday, certainly did not expect Pope Francis to knock at their doors.
Bergoglio has always told his closest friends and acquaintances that he was born to be a priest. This Friday, he walked around the neighborhood as a “parish priest,” and spent time with twelve families (in Piazza Francesco Conteduca 11), as he handed them rosaries as gifts.
Ostia, part of the Commune of Rome, with more than 100,000 inhabitants, is an area of the capital that embodies the contrast of the well-off living alongside marginalization and poverty. Parishes are part of the social fabric of the territory and offer the most vulnerable sectors of the Roman society a place to be part of a community.