ROME – Pope Francis made a private visit Monday morning to pray at the tomb of Blessed Pope Paul VI, on the 40th anniversary of his death.
Francis made a similar visit to Paul’s tomb last year.
Francis’s visit to the tomb took place in an absolutely private manner, said vice-director of the Holy See press office, Paloma Garcia.
She told EWTN Aug. 6 that Francis prayed for about 10 minutes at the tomb, which is located in the Vatican Grottos, the crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.
Paul VI, to whom Francis referred Sunday as a “pope of modernity,” was the author of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed Church teaching against contraception.
Paul will be canonized with Blessed Oscar Romero Oct. 14, during the synod on young people, faith, and vocational discernment.
At the end of his Angelus address Aug. 5, Francis recalled the blessed, calling him a “great pope of modernity,” and remembering him “with much veneration and gratitude.”
“From heaven may he intercede for the Church and for peace in the world,” the pope said.
Francis unofficially confirmed the news of Paul VI’s canonization during his annual meeting with the priests of Rome Feb. 17. “Paul VI will be a saint this year,” he said Feb. 15.
After a long question and answer session, the pope gave texts containing meditations by his predecessor as a gift to each of the priests. “I saw it and I loved it,” Francis said about the book.