After meeting with the members of the Waldensian Temple, Pope Francis had a family reunion with his own relatives in Turin.
Vatican Radio reported that the Pope “met with around 30 of his relatives – six cousins and their families – in the Archbishop’s residence in Turin, and also celebrated Mass with them.”
Yesterday, the Pope also made a unscheduled stop at the Church of Saint Therese. Giovanni and Rosa Bergoglio Vassallo, the Holy Father’s paternal grandparents, were married in the church in 1907. The following year, Mario Giuseppe Francesco Bergoglio, the Pope’s father, was baptized in the same church.
According to Vatican Insider, the Pope was welcomed to the Church by Fr. Giustizio Zoppi, Provincial Superior of the Carmelites, who reside at the church. Fr. Zoppi said that the 78-year-old Pontiff left a vase of yellow roses on the altar “and then asked for a chair so he could sit in silence for a few minutes.”
“We did not ask him to come, he wanted to,” Fr. Zoppi explain. We remembered the importance of this church for his family two years ago, when he became Pope. And when we found out that he was coming to Turin, we told our bishop, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, that we would be pleased to receive him. Then [we heard] nothing and today he came.”
The Holy See Press Office stated that the Holy Father’s visit was seen as a “homecoming” and that the gesture of meeting his relatives was meant to “reiterate the value of the family, ahead of this October’s Synod on the Family.”
Pope Francis “took time in the church of his ancestors to pray especially for families and the success of the Synod.”