In commemoration of All Souls’ Day, Pope Francis prayed Friday in a cemetery for unborn children called the “Garden of Angels” on the outskirts of Rome.
“Listen to the prayer we address to you for all our loved ones who have left this world: open the arms of your mercy and receive them in the glorious assembly of Holy Jerusalem,” the pope prayed in a Blessing of the Tombs Nov. 2.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Laurentino Cemetery, which includes a special burial area for deceased children and unborn babies, where the pope offered a bouquet of flowers and spent a moment in prayer.
“Today is a day of memory, a day to remember those who walked before us, accompanied us, gave us life,” Pope Francis said in his homily.
It is also “a day of hope,” he continued, a hope of “what awaits us: a new heaven, a new earth, the holy city of the new Jerusalem.”
“Beauty awaits us … memory and hope, hope to encounter, hope to arrive where there is the Love which created us, where there is the Love which awaits us: the love of the Father.”
“Between memory and hope” is the road that we must take, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that it is the Beatitudes that lead us along this path.
“These beatitudes – meekness, poverty of spirit, justice, mercy, purity of heart – are the lights that accompany us so as not to make mistakes,” the pope said.
After the All Souls’ Day Mass, Pope Francis prayed in private in St. Peter’s Basilica at the grotto tombs of deceased popes.
In recent tradition, popes have celebrated an All Souls’ Day Mass at at Rome’s Campo Verano cemetery, founded in the 19th century.
In 2016, Pope Francis extended this tradition to the Prima Porta Cemetery, and last year the Mass took place in an Italian cemetery for American personnel killed in World War II.