On 4 August Pope Francis visited Assisi to pray in the little chapel of the Portiuncula restored by St Francis of Assisi.
The saint had hoped that all people might experience the overwhelming mercy of God in this sacred place just as he did, and so obtained the Portiuncula Indulgence from Pope Honorius III.
This year marks the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Pardon of Assisi.
In Assisi Pope Francis challenged Franciscans and all Christians to live in mercy.
‘In this Holy Year of Mercy, it becomes ever clearer that the path of forgiveness can truly renew the Church and the world. To offer today’s world the witness of mercy is a task from which none of us can feel exempted.
The world needs forgiveness; too many people are caught up in resentment and harbour hatred, because they are incapable of forgiving.
They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace.
Let us ask Saint Francis to intercede for us, so that we may always be humble signs of forgiveness and channels of mercy.’