Friday, March 14, 2014

A Pope Francis day

Pope Francis celebrating daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta chapel
The light in suite no. 201 in St. Martha’s House, furnished with heavy walnut furniture, comes on very early in the morning, around at 4:30 am. For two hours, Francis sits alone, praying and meditating the readings of the day and preparing the brief homilies he gives off-the-cuff every morning, as his Maltese secretary Alfred Xuereb explains. A few minutes or so before 7 am the Pope goes down to the sacristy alone, where there are fifty or so people, some priests and his two secretaries, Xuereb and Fabián Pedacchio (an Argentinean) waiting for him. Since January, each day the faithful attending the morning mass come from a different Roman parish: the Bishop of Rome, Bergoglio, knows he is unable to visit all the parishes (even Wojtyla didn’t and he was Pope for 27 years), so instead, he invites them, so to speak, to his home. The homilies said at these masses are one of the most important new elements of this pontificate: they are simple, to the point and yet profound at the same time. There is no official written text but Vatican radio publishes a summary of each homily in the late morning. The Vatican publishing house has also published a two-volume work titled “Omelie del mattino”, (Morning Homilies) containing the Pope’s daily morning homilies.
Pope Francis dining with some young people
When Mass has ended the Pope takes off his vestments and goes back to the chapel where he sits at the back and prays in silence for a minute or so. He then goes out into the atrium to greet people one by one.  He takes his breakfast at 8 am in the St. Martha’s House dining room. This is where the Pope usually has lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 8 pm. In the evening there is only table service for the residence’s guests during the first course. After this, each of Francis’ dining companions, including himself, gets up and chooses their second course from the self-service area.” I need to live among people and if I lived on my own, perhaps a little isolated, it wouldn’t do me good,” Francis said when he explained that he chose not to live in the Apostolic Palace for “psychiatric reasons”, because he can’t “live alone”, isolated in the papal apartment.
The Pope’s days are intense. Apart from the audiences he holds, the official meetings and the visits from heads of state, the piles of documents he receives from the Secretariat of State and the Curia congregations and the reports he gets from various commissions keep him on the go all day long. Francis finds the time to personally read about fifty or so letters and messages from the thousands he receives every day. These sit on his desk for a while and the Pope then responds to them personally without any intermediaries, using the landline telephone.

No comments:

Post a Comment