|Rome - Vatican City
March 17, 2013
The Pontifical Parish of Saint Anne is the territorial parish of Vatican City, and it has been under the pastoral care of the Augustinians since 1929. On Sunday, March 17, 2013, the fourth day of Pope Francis’ Pontificate, the Parish of St. Anne was blessed by the presence of Pope Francis as he presided at the Eucharistic celebration. It was the Pope’s express desire to visit the parish at the start of his ministry as the Bishop of Rome, and his profound commitment to serve the People of God as a true pastor was apparent from the moment he arrived.
Reflecting the simplicity of his personal style, Pope Francis preached about the mercy of God, as reflected in the response of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery, the Gospel of the Fifth Sunday of Lent. “Jesus never grows tired of offering the gift of pardon to those who come to him.”
Concelebrating with Pope Francis were the Vicar General for Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Cardinal Prospero Grech, O.S.A., the Prior General Fr. Robert Prevost, O.S.A., and the pastor of St. Anne’s Parish, Fr. Bruno Silvestrini, O.S.A.. In addition the Pope was assisted by two Augustinian deacons and several professed from the Collegio Santa Monica and the professorium of the Italian Province in Viterbo.
Before he gave the final blessing, Pope Francis received the greeting of Fr. Silvestrini, and of Cardinal Comastri. From the Cardinal’s words: “During these days, we have truly felt the winds of Pentecost, which has shaken our souls. In a certain way, [when St. Francis began his Order], Christianity was reborn, with the simplicity and the fervor of its beginnings. This is what is happening now… Your Holiness, fill the Church with the perfume of the Gospel, the sweet odor of Christ.”
At the conclusion of the Eucharist, the Pope processed to the main door of the church, and one by one greeted each and every one of the faithful who had taken part in the Eucharistic celebration. Pope Francis’ warmth and simplicity clearly touched the hearts and lives of everyone who had the privilege of being present.