Pope Francis Makes Unannounced Visits of Mercy in Rome

Calls in on a retirement home and a hospice for people in vegetative states as part of his monthly example of an act of mercy during the Jubilee Year.

Pope Francis this afternoon called in on a residence for the elderly and a home for people in vegetative states as part of his monthly, unannounced acts of mercy during this Jubilee Year.

According to a Vatican statement, the 33 elderly residents of the home in a Rome suburb were stunned by Francis' visit as they hadn't been alerted in advance.

Accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella who is in charge of the Year of Mercy, the Holy Father met with each resident before heading off to a hospice home for six people in vegetative states.

Called Casa Iris, the hospice is not organized as a hospital but a family home where the patients can be continually assisted by relatives, the Vatican said.

The Vatican said today's visits were part of the initiative “The Friday of Mercy” in which the Pope gives an example of a work of mercy once a month.

On this occasion, the Holy Father wanted to send a message to combat what he has called the "culture of waste" by underscoring the “great importance and preciousness” of the elderly, grandparents and others and their inherent value and dignity in every situation.

Vine video courtesy of Catholic News Agency