Like parish priests throughout Italy do during the Easter season, Pope Francis spent the afternoon of Friday 19 May going door to door and blessing homes. Continuing the “Mercy Friday” visits he began during the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis chose a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb. The Mercy Fridays see the Holy Father engaged in specific corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The Vatican press office said Father Plinio Poncina, pastor of Stella Maris parish, put up signs 17 May announcing a priest would be visiting the neighborhood to bless houses. The signs, which indicate a date and give a time frame for these visits, are a common site in Italy in the weeks before and after Easter.
To the surprise of many of those who opened their doors it was the Holy Father and not the parish priest who was there offering a blessing of the homes of the parishioners in the complex located at Piazza Francesco Conteduca.