M.King Pope Francis, who made a pilgrimage in Italy’s mountain town yesterday, praised the humility of the 13th-century pope who left a life of recluse and used his short papacy to emphasize the value of mercy and forgiveness. praised that

Francis made a four-hour visit to L’Aquila in the Central Apennine Mountains, where an earthquake hit in 2009 killed 305 people and destroyed much of the town. It is still under reconstruction.

The Pope has come to boost the end-of-summer tradition started by Pope Celestine V 728 years ago to encourage believers to seek the remission of sins.

L’Aquila’s Collemaggio Cathedral contains the remains of Celestine, who resigned from the papacy in 1294 after just a few months. As Pope, Celestine initiated his August Asceticism, which allowed believers to pass through the Cathedral’s Holy Door. After he has fulfilled certain religious requirements, he can receive this indulgence, which removes the punishment for his sins.

Aides took Francis, in a wheelchair, to the simple brown wooden doors of the cathedral. After Francis was helped to his feet with a sore knee, he tapped the door three times with a sturdy olive tree branch before it opened. With the ramp in place, Francis limped into the cathedral and prayed silently before the mausoleum containing Celestine’s body, his face covered with a silver mask.

Celestine is mocked by Dante in “The Divine Comedy” for abandoning the role of Pope.

“Though humble people appear weak and losers in the eyes of men, they are actually the true winners because they are the only ones who fully trust the Lord and know His will.”

“Humility is not in devaluing yourself, but in a healthy realism that makes you aware of your potential and your wretchedness,” Francis said. He praised the “brave” Celestine V.

Celestine reminded us that compassion and forgiveness can help people move “from anguish and guilt to freedom and joy.”

As the helicopter that flew him from the Vatican to L’Aquila yesterday continued to circle over the town, trying to find a break in the clouds so the pilot could land, Francis said he was prompted to ponder the value of mercy. rice field.

“At some point, there was a break in the clouds and the pilot zoomed through,” says Francis, taking advantage of the “break” when the potential for mercy presents itself when people’s lives are clouded by trouble. I recommended that

The last pope to visit L’Aquila before Francis was his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict XVI paid tribute to Celestine by coming to comfort earthquake survivors in 2009.

Francis greeted the townspeople outside the city’s Duomo, or cathedral, which was still being restored from the damage of the earthquake, and visited relatives of the victims.

Francis noted that inmates from the area prison were among the hospitable people outside the cathedral. Because there are many victims,” ​​Francis said. Andrea Rosa & Francis Demilio, L’Aquila, MDT/AP

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