Pope prays for Nigerian homeless man found dead near St. Peter’s

Pope Francis prays for a homeless man from Nigeria who died just a few meters from St. Peter’s Square, and reminds journalists of their task to give first-hand witness to the truth.

By Devin Watkins

After praying the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis paused for a moment to pray for Edwin, a Nigerian homeless man left to die alone on a cold Roman night.

“On 20 January, just a few meters from St. Peter’s Square, a Nigerian homeless man named Edwin was found dead from the cold,” said the Pope. “His plight is similar to that of many other homeless people who have died recently in Rome under the same dramatic circumstances.”

The Pope then invited everyone to pray for Edwin, and paused for a few seconds in prayer.

He said 46-year-old Edwin was ignored by all.

“He was abandoned, by us as well,” said Pope Francis. “Let us pray for him.”

The Pope then recalled a story from the papacy of St. Gregory the Great. When he witnessed the death of a beggar in the cold, the 6th century Pope ordered that all Masses be suspended for a whole day, “because it was as Good Friday.”

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Journalists and witnesses

Pope Francis also recalled that Sunday is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists.

He referred to his message for World Communications Day 2021, which was released on Saturday, under the title “Come and See”.

He said it is an invitation for everyone to communicate by meeting others where and as they are.

“I exhort all journalists and communicators to go and see, even there were no one wants to go, and to witness to the truth,” he said.

Pray for Christian Unity

Separately, the Pope recalled the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which will be celebrated on Monday with Vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

“I invite you all to join us spiritually in prayer,” he urged.

24 January 2021, 12:49