Pope Invites Venezuelans to Trust in God

Bishop Recounts Meeting, Papal Encouragement

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«Have confidence, God will help you,» is the message Benedict XVI is sending to Venezuela.

The communications office of the Diocese of San Cristobal, Venezuela, told ZENIT that the Holy Father gave this message to Bishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala, who was in Rome for the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

The bishop is first vice-president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference and president of the Latin American and Caribbean Caritas.

Bishop Azuaje said that, in this Year of Faith, the Pope’s wise words «must be a guide for action and a program for hope, given the many uncertainties.»

During the conversation, the bishop reported, the Holy Father said that God does not abandon us, he is always present in history, encouraging through his Spirit the necessary transformations so that man and woman may have life in abundance.

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, continues in Cuba, where he is receiving treatment for cancer. Chávez was to begin his third term as president after being re-elected last October, but it was Vice President Nicolás Maduro who gave the state-of-the-nation speech last week.

There is debate over the constitutionality of the present situation, since the state of Chávez’s health is unknown and he has not made any public appearances for several weeks.

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