Pope Francis on Sunday, November 6, celebrated in the Vatican an unusual mass on the Anniversary of prisoners, – one of the events celebrated in the framework of the previously announced the Year of Charity.
As reported by Vatican Radio, the service, which was held in St. Peter’s Cathedral, was attended by about 1,000 prisoners from 12 countries, and members of their families, the prison priests, guards and volunteers at various charitable organizations.
In his homily, the Pope said that all people are “made mistakes” and urged the prisoners never to lose hope in the mercy of God. He also appealed to political leaders urging them to respect the dignity of prisoners, to pardon them at the earliest opportunity and to abolish the death penalty in countries where it is still valid.
“No, the camera cannot close the path to the Lord. His love permeates everywhere. I pray that everyone can open your heart to love this,” wrote the Pontiff in his account Twitter.
As reports the Russian service of the BBC, the Pope regularly visits places of deprivation of liberty, however, the first time such a large number of prisoners were invited to the Cathedral of St. Peter. The mass was held as usual. Obvious police presence in the temple were not observed. No special security measures in anticipation of the Sunday service, the Vatican did not accept.
Last year Pope Francis celebrated mass in front of nearly 300 prisoners in the Roman prison Rebibbia. During the service held on Holy Thursday of Holy week, the Pontiff washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners.
The year before, Pope Francis celebrated mass in one of the Roman Catholic rehabilitation centres, where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 sick and maimed.
In 2013, Holy Thursday, Pope Francis led the evening mass in a Roman prison “Casa del Marmo”, where he washed the feet of 12 juvenile offenders.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires cardinal Bergoglio often served on Holy Thursday in prisons, hospitals, shelters for the poor and shelters for the homeless. In April 2012, he washed the feet of young addicts who wanted to get rid of addiction in the Catholic community in the Argentine capital. During mass in the Vatican on the occasion of the papal Ministry, Pope Francis underlined that opens its arms “to those who suffer from hunger and thirst, who is a foreigner, who is a goal, who’s sick, who is in prison.”