Pope Francis made a quick visit to Assisi to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the "Pardon of Assisi,” a privilege earned in the year 1216 and established by Pope Honorius III at the request of Saint Francis. That is why the pilgrims who visit this church on August 2 get the same indulgence as those who go to the Holy Land.
The crowd all greeted the Pope with great cheer and an abundance of excitement as he passed by them in extremely close proximity.
The Pope wanted to pray in silence for fifteen minutes in the old Porziuncola chapel, the same one that St. Francis rebuilt with his own hands. It is the place where he founded his Order and the place where he died.
Later, the Pope delivered an intense homily on the profound meaning of God's forgiveness.
"God never tires of offering us his forgiveness each time we ask for it. His is a pardon that is full and complete, one that assures us that, even if we fall back into the same sins, He is merciful and never ceases to love us. God’s forgiveness knows no limits; it is greater than anything we can imagine and it comes to all who know in their hearts that they have done wrong and desire to return to him. God looks at the heart that seeks forgiveness.”
The Pope recalled that we have all been forgiven, yet we find it hard to forgive others. So, he invited the people to imitate God, and draw in those sinners who have offended us even closer.
"The path of forgiveness can truly renew the Church and the world. The world needs forgiveness; too many people are caught up in resentment and harbor hatred, because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace.”
Once again, he asked people to confess their sins to the priest, for God to forgive them no matter how serious their sins are.
"But, I have a fear of sin again tomorrow in the same way. Well you come back tomorrow. From the window, God will always look forward by waiting for the prodigal son. And all of us are prodigals. May the Lord give us this grace.”
To make it clear that he is interested in practicing this sacrament, he left the planned agenda and heard the confessions of some pilgrims for a long period of time.