"Thank you. It's good.”
With a sip of tea, Pope Francis kicked off a busy schedule, during his apostolic trip to Calabria, in southern Italy.
His day began at the Castrovillari jail, where he greeted each of the prisoners, men and women, individually. The Pope's visit stirred lots of emotions among the prisoners.
"I'm praying for you.”
After he finished his individual greetings, the Pope heard the testimony of one of the convicts, before addressing the large crowd.
"For us, Christ's words come true: 'I will go search for the lost sheep and bring her back to my flock.' Your presence allows us to see the shepherd that takes care of us.”
In his remarks, Pope Francis spoke about forgiveness. He said that when prison sentences are handed out without effective reintegration into society, they become a form of punishment and retaliation, that affects the person and society.
"When we go to Confession, the Lord tells us, 'I forgive you. But now, come with me.' And He helps you back on the right path. He never condemns. He never just forgives, but rather he forgives and accompanies you.”
After leaving the prison, the Pope took a ride one his Popemobile through the small town, as dozens of people lined the streets, screaming his name.
Next up, he visited a seminary to have lunch with the poor in the region. He greeted large groups of people gathered outside. Once he stepped in, he led a prayer before the meal.
Following lunch, he was greeted with even more people who called him by name, asking for a handshake or a blessing. His last event before a large Mass was a visit to a hospice for the elderly and the terminally ill.
Once again, emotions came out, as old and young alike shook his hand. Pope Francis made his way around the room, greeting everyone and going to those who couldn't move. His smiles and laughter alternated with the cries of joy, and the voices of people beckoning the Pope.
Before the start of the Mass, Pope Francis prayed for several minutes before a memorial to Fr. Lazzaro Longobardi. The beloved parish priest was killed nearly four months ago.
The Pope went on to greet the city's police force, before heading out to the open field where he celebrated Mass before nearly 200,000 people.