New pope Francis I brings the house down at celebration dinner with 'may God forgive you' quip
Pope Francis took worshippers by surprise today when he unexpectedly joined them at an early morning church service on his first day as pontiff. dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The 76-year-old made an unscheduled visit to the Santa Maria di Maggiore Basilica, speaking to churchgoers going to confession and telling the priest to “work hard and be merciful”.
He spent about 30 minutes in prayer at the altar. Father Ludovico Melo, who prayed with him, said: “He spoke to us cordially like a father. We were given 10 minutes’ advance notice that the Pope was coming.” It followed a celebration dinner in the Vatican last night with the 114 cardinals who elected him the 266th Pope. He jokingly told them: “I hope you don’t regret this.”
US cardinal Timothy Dolan said Francis toasted colleagues and said: “‘May God forgive you’, which brought the house down.” The Argentinian was elevated from his role as Archbishop of Buenos Aires after five votes of the conclave, becoming the first South American Pope, the first to be a Jesuit, and the first non-European for 1,300 years....
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