Pope Francis, who was forced to cancel weekend events due to recurring leg pain, prayed on Sunday for a homeless man who died near St Peter’s Square amid freezing temperatures. Source: CNA.
“Last January 20, a few metres from St. Peter’s Square, a 46-year-old Nigerian homeless man named Edwin was found dead because of the cold,” the Pope said after the Angelus.
“His story was added to that of many other homeless people who recently died in Rome in the same dramatic circumstances. Let us pray for Edwin.”
On the same day that Edwin’s body was discovered, the Vatican began vaccinating homeless people in its care against COVID-19.
Those receiving the vaccine are permanently housed in the care and residence facilities of the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican department offering charitable assistance to the poor on behalf of the pope.
Pope Francis gave the Angelus address via livestream in the library of the Apostolic Palace, where the prayer has taken place since a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.
He attended the event despite being forced to cancel three other public appearances on Sunday and Monday due to a resurgence of nerve pain that struck him at the end of 2020.
The Pope reflected on Sunday’s Gospel reading, Mark 1:14-20, in which Jesus takes up the call to repentance first issued by St. John the Baptist. He said that Christ’s message contained two fundamental themes: time and conversion.
“The time of salvation is fulfilled because Jesus has arrived. However, salvation is not automatic; salvation is a gift of love and as such offered to human freedom,” he said, noting that to receive this gift we must be open to conversion.