Pope blesses houses in Ostia (2)

New initiative on Fridays of Mercy

(ANSA) - Rome, May 19 - Pope Francis on Friday blessed homes in Ostia, on the Roman coast, as a sign of "closeness" to those living on Rome's outskirts in a new initiative, continuing the Fridays of Mercy he inaugurated during the Holy Year Jubilee of Mercy, the Vatican said. The Vatican likened it to the regular pre-Easter blessings of homes carried out by parish priests.
    "The pope has become a parish priest", the Vatican press office said, saying there had been "great surprise" among residents when they opened their doors to see Francis standing there instead of the local priests as they had expected.