Pope Francis on parish visit: "God help us to love one another"

2014-02-17 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the Roman parish church dedicated to St Thomas the Apostle on Sunday evening in suburban Rome’s Infernetto neighbourhood. The Holy Father delivered a homily without prepared remarks, in which he spoke of the need for us to be honest with ourselves about what is really in our heart. “[Let us] always ask God for this grace,” he said, “to know what is happening in [our] heart, in order always to make the right choice – the choice for the good – and may the Lord help us to love one another.”

The schedule of the visit included: a meeting with the children and young people of the parish, who are making their First Communion and Confirmation; an exchange of greetings with the parish faithful in the courtyard in front of the church; some time with children baptized in recent months and with their parents; with the elderly the sick, and with the Parish-sponsored association of families with disabled children. Pope Francis also made time to hear the confessions of several penitents before offering the Mass, which began at 6PM Rome Time.

The occasion of the visit was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the parish, dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle.

The parish territory is home to some 20 thousand people. The parish services include an “Oratory” or playground for young people, a Caritas outreach, regular blood donation drives, a Center for the Elderly, and the San Tommaso Association that is tasked with marshalling resources for the neighbourhood’s needy and for the support of missionary efforts in other parts of the world.