Pope Francis celebrated his Name Day this year by giving away 6,000 rosaries to young girls and boys from Milan. He says that the gesture is to remind the youth to include him in their prayers to the Virgin Mary––especially now that the month of May is just a few days away.
Baptized as Jorge (George) Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis has made it his commitment to always host something special every 23rd of April. The day, now officially marked as a holiday in the Vatican, is a special day for the Santo Papa as it is not just the feast day of St. George the Martyr, but it is also his Holiness’ Name Day––a traditional practice in which a person celebrates the feast day of the saint whom he or she is named after.
For this year, the Pope’s Name Day celebration has been extra special. He surprised a group of 6,000 young pilgrims from Milan and gave them rosaries that he himself blessed!
The rosaries, distributed on Tuesday morning during a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan in St. Peter’s Basilica, were reported to be far from ordinary.
Made with olive wood from the Holy Land, the rosaries were especially designed to touch the hearts and minds of the youth. According to reports, the Pope had them made for the World Youth Day celebrations in Panama last January and for Youth Day at the Diocesan level on Palm Sunday. With Caritas leading its production, the rosaries were made not only to reach out to the youth, but also to help the poor, refugees, and families of prisoners by giving them an extra source of livelihood.
It can be said that it is not the first time Pope Francis went the extra mile in celebrating the feast of St. George. In 2016, his Holiness celebrated the 23rd of April by hearing confessions from 16 boys and girls in St. Peter’s Square. Last year, the Santo Papa kept it cool as he gave away 3,000 gelatos to homeless people around Rome––an event that was made possible through the help of Caritas soup kitchens and shelters that are stationed across the city.
Also Read: Pope Francis’ Prayer of the Five Fingers
While the Pope’s generosity may prove to be inspiring, we do not need a gesture as grand as his to give back to the people around us. Even the littlest of things may touch the lives of many! As Pope Francis once said, “We do not solely need material things (to be generous). Above all, we need to have those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people: spirituality, generosity, solidarity, perseverance, fraternity, and joy.”