Thousands of people waited for Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in what was the last public appearance before the 10th anniversary of his election as pope.
Although the Pope made no mention of the anniversary, he could not escape the cheers from the crowd.
The Pope encouraged the pilgrims to participate in the celebration of “24 hours for the Lord” this Friday and Saturday. It is a penitential celebration that the Pope will preside over in a parish in Rome.
He recalled that in the same celebration last year, he consecrated Russia and Ukraine to Our Lady to ask for peace and the end of the invasion.
“The Lord always listens to the requests that his people address to him through the intercession of the Virgin Mother,” Pope Francis said. “Let us remain united in faith and in solidarity with our brothers who suffer because of the war. Above all, let us not forget the suffering Ukrainian people.”
The 24 hour initiative traditionally takes place on the Friday before the fourth Sunday of Lent. Last year, the event was marked by prayers for peace in Ukraine. During the 24 hours, Pope Francis speaks on the importance of repentance and is usually the first to go to confession.