Tuesday morning, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the priests who reside at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The priests returned on Monday, having vacated their rooms several weeks ago to allow the cardinal-electors to stay at the residence during the conclave.
According to L’Osservatore Romano, an estimated 40 priests, including officials of the Secretariat of State as well as from several other dicasteries, were present at the Mass. Also present were Archbishops Angelo Acerbi, Peter Paul Prabhu and Luigi Travaglino, who serve as Apostolic Nuncios to the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, and Monaco, respectively.
Also present were several sisters who belong to the Secular Institute of Schönstatt.
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of John, which spoke on Judas’ betrayal as well as Peter’s thrice denial of Jesus, referring to “the night and the sweetness of Christ’s forgiveness.”
While speaking on the night Judas left the Upper Room to betray Jesus, Pope Francis reflected on a second night, a “temporary night that everyone knows and in which beyond the darkness there is always hope.”
“It is the night of the sinner who once again finds Jesus, his forgiveness, the caress of the Lord.”
Exhorting those present to open their hearts to the sweetness of Christ’s forgiveness, the Holy Father said that it is that same sweetness that is expressed in the look of Christ as he turned toward Peter after his denial.
“How beautiful it is to be holy, but also how beautiful to be forgiven,” the Holy Father said.
After the Mass, there were a few minutes of silent prayer during which the Pope, as has been his custom when celebrating Mass at the chapel, seated himself in the last pew of the chapel. Pope Francis then greeted each person individually and gave to each priest of Domus Sanctae Marthae a large chocolate Easter egg with the papal coat of arms.