Pope Francis on Friday paid a surprise visit to Ostia and blessed a dozen homes in the coastal town, giving each one a rosary in a sign of “closeness” to those living on Rome’s outskirts, the Vatican said. There was “great surprise” among residents when they opened their doors to see Francis standing there instead of the local priest as they had expected, the Vatican press office said. “The Holy Father Francis joked with households, saying he had respected the ban on disturbances during the afternoon siesta written outside the apartment buildings.” Francis had wanted to continue the Fridays of Mercy initiative he began during the recent Holy Year Jubilee of Mercy, the Vatican said The Vatican likened the visits to the traditional pre-Easter blessings of homes carried out by Catholic parish priests.
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