Vatican City, Jan 8, 2017 / 07:15 am
On Sunday Pope Francis announced that his “urgent” prayer for the month of January is for all those who live on the streets with no shelter, expecially during the cold winter weather.
“During these very cold days, I think of and I invite you to think of all the people who live on the streets, affected by the cold and many times by indifference,” he said Jan. 8.
“Unfortunately some didn’t make it. Let us pray for them, and let us ask the Lord to warm our hearts so as to be able to help them.”
The Pope made his appeal looking out over frozen St. Peter's Square and the thousands of pilgrims bundled up below the window to the Apostolic Palace.
Temperatures in Rome have made a significant drop over the past few days, lowering enough to cause the fountains inside the square to freeze over, with ice on the cobblestone beside them where the water had splashed over.
Last week the Vatican announced that the Pope would be making some changes to his monthly prayer intentions in 2017, adding an “urgent” prayer intention himself each month, alongside the usual monthly intention, in order to garner rapid support for a cause.
His attention to the homeless isn't surprising, as it has been a consistent concern for Francis since the beginning of his pontificate.
Not only did he have showers and a barber service installed in the bathrooms in St. Peter's Square to help the homeless stay clean and tidy, he has invited them to several events in the Vatican, including concerts and tours of the museums, and they have consistently been his special guests for breakfast on his birthday.
Pope Francis announced the special prayer intention during his Sunday Angelus address on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Earlier that morning he celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel and baptized 28 babies.