ITALY – Pope Francis on Sunday, January 24, prayed for a homeless Nigerian man who died near St. Peter’s Square amid freezing temperatures.
Speaking after the Angelus, the pope led prayers for the 46-year-old Nigerian man identified as Edwin, who was reportedly found dead by volunteers from the Community of Sant’Egidio on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
“Last Jan. 20, a few meters from St. Peter’s Square, a 46-year-old Nigerian homeless man named Edwin was found dead because of the cold,” the pope said.
“His story was added to that of many other homeless people who recently died in Rome in the same dramatic circumstances. Let us pray for Edwin.”
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 Good Friday”
“May we be reminded of the words of St. Gregory the Great, who, when faced with the death of a mendicant from cold, said that Masses would not be celebrated that day because it was like Good Friday.”
“Let us think about Edwin. Let us think of what this man, 46 years old, felt in the cold, ignored by all, abandoned, even by us. Let us pray for him.”
According to the news website RomaToday, Edwin was the fourth homeless person to die this year in Rome, where there are an estimated 8,000 homeless people. Many sleep along the edge of Bernini’s colonnade, the semi-circular columns enclosing St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis gave the Angelus address via Livestream in the library of the Apostolic Palace, where the prayer has taken place since a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.