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Rome Reports

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March 2014: Pope Francis becomes the first Pope to go to confession in public

Lent began in March, the time in which the Church prepares for Holy Week. The Pope celebrated the Ash Wednesday Mass, where Cardinal Josef Tomko placed ashes on him. As in every Lenten season, the Pope held the traditional meeting with the priests of the diocese of Rome.  Pope Francis once again surprised them when he revealed that he stole his confessors crucifix...at his wake! POPE FRANCIS March 6, 2014 "Right away, the thief in all of us come to mind. While I laid the flowers on his coffin, I took the crucifix from the rosary, about this size, I pulled gently and removed it. In that moment, I looked at him and said: 'Give me half of your mercy.'â? Traditionally, the Pope also takes advanted of Lent to make his spiritual exercises with the Cardinals of the Curia. They arrived at a residence outside of Rome by bus and he was the first to step off.  -How are you? -Very well. For five days there were no audiences nor meetings held. He sat down to pray with the rest of the cardinals.  March also saw the first strong condemnation by the Pope against the mafia. During this meeting with families of innocent victims of the criminal organizations in Rome, Pope Francis heard the names of 800 innocent people who were murdered. After a powerful address, he called on members of the mafia to change their lives.  POPE FRANCIS March 21, 2014 "Convert. You still have time to not end up in hell. That is what awaits you, if you continue down this path.â? Lastly, March left a historical memory. During the penitential celebration in St. Peter's Basilica on March 28th, he approached a confessional. For the first time, the world saw a Pope ask forgiveness like any other Christian, kneeling in front of a priest.  PM RR -PR Up: GRT