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A special ‘Mercy Friday’

· An interview with Archbishop Fisichella on the Pope’s visit in Poland ·

The silent prayer in Auschwitz and Birkenau, the visit to sick children in the paediatric hospital of Krakow, the Way of the Cross of World Youth Day with young people of Iraq and those who live in particular situations of hardship.

According to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, there is a guiding thread that links these three moments experienced by Pope Francis on Friday, 29 July, during his journey to Poland: so much that, unquestionably, that day can truly be considered as Pope Francis’ so-called “Mercy Friday” for the month of July. The Archbishop explained this in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, in which he also spoke of the catecheses he held with young Italians during wyd in Krakow.

For the Dicastery which is responsible for vitalizing the pastoral ministry and the organization of the Jubilee events, what did the Pope’s day in Poland on Friday, 29 July, represent?

Looking at what Francis did, we can undoubtedly define it as one of the “Mercy Fridays” that he is bringing about each month of this extraordinary Holy Year. I would like to add that in this circumstance Francis experienced in an even more meaningful way. I believe, in fact, that the silence of Auschwitz, his silent prayer, his wish to share some time with the sick children, with Iraqi young people or the disadvantaged present at the Way of the Cross, are wholly in line with the works of mercy. Let us not forget that praying for the deceased is a spiritual work of mercy and visiting the sick is a corporal work of mercy. Therefore I would say that, although on an organizational level we suspended Jubilee events during the summer period in order to allow him a rest from the many efforts of these months, the Pope amazed us yet again. And also in July he fully held his “Mercy Friday”, in an even more surprising way, if you will.

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