Pope Surprises the Faithful in St. Peter’s, Shows Up to Pray at Side Altar

Attends 7 a.m. Friday Mass on Feast of St. Pius X

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On Friday morning, Pope Francis surprised the faithful in St. Peter’s Square when he showed up at the Altar of St. Pius X to pray. It was the saint’s feast day.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father came to pray at the altar and participated in the 7 a.m. Mass that was celebrated there by Monsignor Lucio Bonora, an official of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who was unaware the Pope planned on being there.

“When [Pope Francis] saw me, he told me he came to pray because he had already said Mass earlier in the Casa Santa Marta, and he wanted to pay his respects to St. Pius X,” Msgr. Bonora told Vatican Radio.

Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis greeted the faithful during the sign of peace.

“It was very moving for me, and for the faithful, to see the Pope as a humble member of the faithful, going to pray at the tomb of St. Pius X,” the priest said.

Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis told him he has a strong devotion to Pius X, and that he prayed especially for catechists, since in Buenos Aires the feast serves as the Day of Catechists.

St. Pius X (June 2, 1835 – Aug. 20, 1914) was Pope from Aug. 4, 1903, to his death in 1914. He was canonized in 1954.

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