Bringing the Vatican official in charge of translations with him, Pope Francis signed his new encyclical, "Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship," at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, source of the document's title and inspiration.
After celebrating Mass at St. Francis' tomb Oct. 3, the eve of the saint's feast day, the pope called up Msgr. Paolo Braida and explained to the small congregation that the monsignor is in charge of "translations and the speeches of the pope" in the Vatican Secretariat of State.
"He watches over everything and that's why I wanted him to be here today," the pope said. He also brought with him the Spanish official who oversaw the accuracy of the various translations and the official who translated the text from Spanish into Portuguese.
Pope Francis set the text on the altar under the tomb of St. Francis and signed it.
The encyclical was scheduled to be released to the public Oct. 4 just after midday.
Pope Francis arrived late for the Mass in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Francis after making a brief stop in Assisi at the Basilica of St. Clare, which houses the tomb of the close follower of St. Francis and founder of the Poor Clares.
The pope did not give a homily during the Mass, simply praying silently for several minutes after the reading of the Gospel. The text was that prescribed for the feast of St. Francis, Matthew 11:25-30, which begins, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."
Because of measures designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the Mass was described as "private." Only about two dozen people were in the small crypt chapel; they sat socially distanced, one person in each pew, and wore masks.
Several Franciscan sisters were present, as were the ministers general of the main Franciscan orders of men: Father Michael Perry, minister general of the Franciscans; Father Roberto Genuin, minister general of the Capuchins; and Father Amando Trujillo Cano, minister general of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis.