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Pope hears priests' confessions, visits St. Mary Major

February 11, 2016

Pope Francis attended a February 11 meeting of priests in the basilica of St. John Lateran, and heard the confessions of several priests.

The priests of the Rome diocese had gathered in the basilica for what Cardinal Agostini Vallini, the vicar of Rome, described as a "penitential" meeting at the beginning of Lent. The cardinal said that the event offered priests a chance "to have an experience of the mercy of the Father, and in turn, to be able to be ministers of mercy in the communities entrusted to us." Each priest was offered a copy of the Pope's book, The Name of God Is Mercy.

Before the Thursday meeting, the Pope crossed the city of Rome to pray before the icon of the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, in the basilica of St. Mary Major. The Pope, who is leaving for Mexico on Friday, has made it his custom to pray at the Marian basilica before and after each one of his trips abroad.

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