Every Wednesday in the General Audience, there is a kind of competition amongst pilgrims to see who can manage to bring the pope the most curious gift. This week the winning gift was this papal puppet that made Pope Francis stop and laugh.
In his catechesis the pope reflected on the last two works of mercy: to pray for the living and the dead, and to bury the dead. Since he likes to preach by example, he also prayed for the victims of the plane crash in Colombia.
'Also today I would like to remember the pain of the people of Brazil because of the tragedy with the soccer team, and pray for the deceased players and their families.'
In the catechesis, he remembered those who risk their lives to burial the deceased, especially today in the countries that are at war.
'In some areas of the world that are living under the scourge of war, with bombs that during the day and night sow fear in innocent victims, this work of mercy is sadly current.'
The pope said that praying for the dead should not be separate from praying for the living, especially those closest to us.
'I mean also being grateful to God for receiving good news about a friend, family member or colleague. Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful thing. Also in these cases we must pray for others and thank the Lord when good things happen.'
It was an intense General Audience. The pope sent a message of support to the international conference aimed at protecting cultural heritage during armed conflicts, taking place later this week in Abu Dhabi. He congratulated the Orthodox Church which celebrates its patron saint, St. Andrew today. He concluded by sending a message of solidarity for World AIDS Day.