VATICAN CITY — In his first Sunday appearance from the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis charmed a huge crowd by infusing the message of the Gospel with personal recollections and a smattering of humor.
He greeted the estimated 200,000 people who had crowded into the square for his first Angelus, a traditional prayer to the Virgin Mary, with a hearty ‘‘buon giorno,’’ which was cheered. And he took leave of them with ‘‘buon pranzo’’ — ‘‘Have a good lunch’’ — which was cheered even more.
His reflection was on mercy and God’s power to forgive. And he told the story of a woman he had met in Buenos Aires two decades ago who believed this to be true.
“She told me: ‘If the Lord hadn’t forgiven all, then the world wouldn’t be here,’ ’’ the pope recounted. ‘‘And I wanted to ask her, ‘Ma’am, you didn’t happen to study at the Gregorian?’ ’’ — the oldest Jesuit university, founded by St. Ignatius in 1551 — because ‘‘that is wisdom regarding the mercy of God.’’ His comment drew laughter from the crowd.
‘'Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us,’’ he said.
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