Rome, Italy, May 7, 2015 / 05:05 am
Pilgrims and tourists strolling down the streets of Rome in the coming months may come across an unexpected treat – a special "Jubilee of Mercy Ice Cream," created in honor of the upcoming Holy Year.
Pope Francis has proclaimed the special Holy Year of Mercy, which is to last from Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
The special Jubilee ice cream can be sampled at the Hedera ice cream shop, situated on the legendary Borgo Pio, one of the streets most traveled by Rome's tourists.
Hedera stands out from among the other restaurants and souvenir shops because of the sprawling ivy vines that completely cover the building and the adjacent old drinking fountain with a papal crest that slakes the thirst of passersby.
The sweet treat created for the Jubilee features the colors of the Vatican flag – yellow and white. It is made of milk, cream and limoncello, a lemon liqueur popular in Italy.
"We have tradition and innovation in our DNA. The idea came to us thinking about a product inspired by the Jubilee, something very significant," said business owner Francesco Ceravolo.
"We didn't want to make a product just to advertise, but an excellent product. We used the best milk available in the area, the best cream and limoncello, he explained, adding, "We lowered the alcohol in it so everyone could have it: children, adults, the elderly."
Ceravolo is a big admirer of Pope Francis and a descendant of master ice cream makers. He said that the idea was to create a unique flavor that would represent penance. The lemon liqueur was therefore chosen to symbolize purification.
Hedera prides itself on high-quality products, all sourced from Italy and without preservatives.
The "Jubilee ice cream" is just one example of how the people of Rome are preparing to welcome the thousands of pilgrims that will visit the city for the Jubilee of Mercy that the Pope has declared.
Mercy is a theme that is dear to Pope Francis, and is the central topic of his episcopal motto "miserando atque eligendo," which he chose when ordained a bishop in 1992.
In speaking about the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, the Pope has emphasized that mercy is inseparable from the life and mission of the Church, as well as the role of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Upon making the public proclamation of the Holy Year, Pope Francis explained that he had declared this Jubilee of mercy because we are living at a "time of great historical change" which calls the Church "to offer more evident signs of God's presence and closeness."
This period in history is a time where the faithful "need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential," he said.
"This is the time for mercy."
The aim of Jubilee Year of Mercy is to encourage the faithful to "welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world," the Pope stressed.