Pope presides over Lenten penance service at Vatican
A few hours after urging priests to be generously available for the sacrament of penance, Pope Francis went to confession, then offered the sacrament to seven Catholics.
Presiding over the annual Lenten penance service in St Peter’s Basilica on 17th March, Pope Francis was one of 95 priests and bishops listening to confessions and granting absolution.
After the reading of a Gospel passage, the pope did not give a homily. Instead, he and the thousands of people gathered in the basilica prayed in absolute silence for 10 minutes.
Pope Francis spent about four minutes kneeling before a priest in one of the wooden confessionals before he walked to one nearby, put on a purple stole and waited for the first penitent to approach.
As people were preparing, confessing and praying, the Sistine Chapel Choir alternated with the organist and a harpist in ensuring an atmosphere of peace.
The pope spent 50 minutes administering the sacrament before leading the congregation in prayers of thanksgiving for the experience of the “goodness and sweetness of God’s love for us.”
Picture: Pope Francis holds his crosier during a Lenten penance service in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 17th March. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).Tags: Confession, Lent, Lenten penance, penance, Pope, Pope Francis, st peter's basilica, Vatican