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11.03.2024 18:38:52 821x read.
‘God never tires of forgiving’: Pope Francis hears confessions at Roman parish. (taken from Vatican News)

‘God never tires of forgiving’: Pope Francis hears confessions at Roman parish.


By Matthew Santucci

Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2024 / 14:35 pm

On Friday evening Pope Francis traveled out of the Vatican to hear confessions and preside over a penitential service at St. Pius V Parish in Rome.

Choosing the theme “Walking in the New Life,” the pope stressed that the Lenten journey is a moment of interior reflection and transformation and that God never tires of forgiving.

The pope punctuated his homily several times with off-the-cuff remarks. At one point he turned to the faithful and asked them to repeat in unison: “God never tires of forgiving.”

The Holy Father implored the assembly to not “renounce God’s forgiveness, the sacrament of reconciliation,” stressing that it is “not a practice of devotion but the foundation of Christian existence.” 


“It is not a question of knowing how to express sins well but of recognizing ourselves as sinners and throwing ourselves into the arms of Jesus crucified to be freed. It is not a moralistic gesture but the resurrection of the heart,” the pope continued. 

Friday’s homily was the first public address in recent weeks, besides the past two Sunday Angeluses, that the pope delivered without having to rely on an aide to read. The 87-year-old pontiff spoke for more than 15 minutes and seemed to be in better form nearly two weeks after the Holy See Press Office first announced that he was recovering from “mild flu” symptoms. 

The pope’s visit to St. Pius V Parish, which sits about two miles from the Vatican, opened the 11th edition of the Lenten initiative “24 Hours for the Lord.” This annual celebration, which the pope established in 2014, is promoted by the Dicastery for Evangelization and is held on the eve of the fourth Sunday in Lent, or Laetare Sunday. 

This year is the second time the pope will preside over the event outside of the Vatican.

“This new life,” the pope explained in his homily on Friday, “is the life that carries us forward in our truest identity, that of being beloved children of the Father, so that every sadness and obstacle, every effort and tribulation cannot prevail over this wonderful reality that grounds us.”

Highlighting the frenzy of modern life and the multitude of responsibilities that come with it, the pope observed the ease with which we can become distracted and led astray, forgetting “that there is already a new life that flows within us and that, like embers under the ashes, waits to blaze up and shed light on everything.” 

“With the face of God clouded, those of our brothers clouded, the greatness we carry within us blurred, we remain on the path, but we need new signs, a change of pace, a direction that helps us find the way back to baptism, our original beauty, the sense of moving forward,” the pontiff continued. 

Lent, the pope explained, is the best way to get recalibrated and to get back on a path of spiritual renewal. He observed that this task is contingent upon a willingness to connect with God and to seek his forgiveness. 

It is “divine forgiveness” that “makes us new again,” the pope said, and “cleans us inside, making us return to the condition of baptismal rebirth. It makes the fresh waters of grace flow again in the heart, dried up by sadness and dusty by sins.” 

Pope Francis closed his homily by asking the faithful to “welcome this new life,” after which the faithful joined the pontiff in repeating seven times aloud: “Jesus, if you want, you can purify me."

Following the homily, the celebration continued with Eucharistic adoration while the pope moved from the sanctuary to the right aisle of the mid-20th-century church to hear confessions. 


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