During a recent visit to the Vatican, Bishop Edward K. Braxton greeted His Holiness, Pope Francis after the Pontiff’s General Audience in the Square of the Basilica of St. Peter. The Bishop thanked the Holy Father for his Pastoral Visit the United States September 23-27. He also expressed his appreciation for the major papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’ (On the Care of Our Common Home). He expressed gratitude for the Jubilee Year of Mercy during which the Pope invites Catholics to renew their awareness of the overflowing mercy of God and the need for each of us to renew our personal commitment to cultivating the attitude of mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace in all of our relationships.
The Bishop assured the 266th Successor of St. Peter of the loyalty and esteem of the Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Christian Faithful of the Diocese of Belleville. He told him of our prayers for the fruitfulness of his ministry as Supreme Pontiff and wished him a belated “Happy Birthday” (December 17).
The Audience was held outdoors rather than in the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall to accommodate the larger crowds expected during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It was a cool morning and this is why the Bishop of Rome is wearing a long white soutane coat over his white cassock as well as a white scarf in the photographs.