Pope Francis surprised the faithful in St. Peter’s Basilica when he attended the morning Mass at the Altar of St. Pius X in the church. It was the feast day of the saint.
The Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Lucio Bonora, an official of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who was unaware the Pope planned on being there.
When he was informed Pope Francis was praying at the altar, he asked if he should go back to the sacristy, but was told to say Mass as usual.
“When [Pope Francis] saw me, he told me he came to pray because he had already said Mass earlier in the Casa Santa Marta, and he wanted to pay his respects to St. Pius X,” Msgr. Bonora told Vatican Radio.
“When he say I had come to celebrate Mass, he wanted to remain, to stay there with the faithful, attend Mass and pray,” he said.
Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis greeted the faithful during the sign of peace.
“It was very moving for me, and for the faithful, to see the Pope as a humble member of the faithful, going to pray at the tomb of St. Pius X,” the priest said.
Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis told him he has a strong devotion to Pius X, and prayed especially for catechists, since in Buenos Aires the feast serves as the Day of Catechists.