CZESTOCHOWA, Poland – Nothing can stop Pope Francis from celebrating World Youth Day – not even falling during a televised Mass.
In his first major event at the 31st World Youth Day, the Pope missed a step during Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa on 28 July 2016. He was carrying a censer and was on his way to incense the Polish icon of the Virgin Mary.
Immediately, members of his security and the local clergy helped him up and readjusted his vestments. Thanks to their quick reaction and the Holy Father’s impressive strength, the 79 year-old Pope was able to continue with Mass and his other scheduled activities.
“The pope is fine,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told journalists after the fall.
Czestochowa Archbishop Waclaw Depo said Francis fell because he had closed his eyes and appeared to miss a step, ABC News reported.
“He is in good condition. He did not even complain at all. He never said a word,” Depo said. “Also the homily showed that the pope has strength and this strength he gets from the people.”
Despite having only one lung and sciatica, a condition causing pain in his lower back, the Pope continues to be in relatively good health and has presided over several long events, meetings and audiences during his papacy, including the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last fall.
Several outlets reported the incident on Twitter.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Jasna Gora is considered one of the holiest sites in Poland, and houses the historic icon of the Black Madonna. The Mass on Thursday was being celebrated in honour of the 1050th anniversary of Poland becoming a Christian nation.
Hundreds of thousands of people filled the areas near the temple from early morning to attend Mass. Francis is the third pope to visit this shrine in the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. – CNS Blog