The Catholic Herald reports that Pope Francis made an unannounced visit to care centers for the elderly in Rome as part of his personal observation of the Holy Year of Mercy. The Vatican used #MercyFriday to announce the pope’s visit.
The pope plans to perform a work of mercy, personally and privately, on one Friday each month, although this began quite publically in December when he visited and celebrated Mass at a shelter. This time around, the Vatican chose to keep it a surprise and did not inform journalists nor the residents of the care centers ahead of time.
The Vatican statement said, “Pope Francis wanted to highlight—in opposition to the ‘throwaway culture’ —the great importance and preciousness of the elderly and grandparents as well as the value and dignity of life in every situation.”