Pope Francis appeared by surprise at a vaccination center for the poor and homeless in the Vatican on Friday (2), the day when the Passion of Christ is celebrated.
Images released by the Church show the 84-year-old pontiff welcoming doctors, nurses, other staff and people being vaccinated at a vaccination space near St. Peter’s Cathedral.
About 800 people have already been vaccinated there, and at least 400 more should be treated, according to the Vatican.
The Pope, who has already been vaccinated, said taking the vaccine was an ethical choice, unless there are serious medical reasons why a person cannot be vaccinated.
Under Francis’s command, the Vatican created several structures to help homeless people in Rome, including a clinic, areas for bathing and for haircuts and beards.
Due to the pandemic, Holy Week celebrations in the Vatican are being held for a very small audience for the second year in a row. Easter is one of the main annual celebrations of the Catholic Church.
In another symbolic gesture, the Pope celebrated Mass on Thursday (1st) alongside Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was dismissed from his post after allegations of embezzlement of money for church charities.
A Vatican source told AFP he could not comment on the Pope’s private engagements, but said “such a fraternal gesture on a day like Maundy Thursday does not seem unusual.”
Becciu was also involved in an investment case at the expense of the Vatican in London, but he has always pleaded not guilty. He has not been officially charged with any crime.