Vatican City, Oct 4, 2019 / 09:30 am
Pope Francis witnessed an indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday, during which people held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women, one of which reportedly represented the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A group of people, including Amazonians in ritual dress, as well people in lay clothes and a Franciscan brother, knelt and bowed in a circle around images of two pregnant women who appeared to be semi-clothed, in the presence of the pope and members of the curia.
After witnessing the ritual, Pope Francis set aside his prepared remarks, opting instead to offer the Our Father without comment.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told CNA Friday that "at the end of the ceremony, the Pope decided to entrust his reflection, thoughts and words to the Prayer of the Our Father, which is in itself a message of faith, witness, repentance and hope."