Pope Francis sent a message of encouragement to the Association of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association of Argentinian mothers created in 1977 to denounce the disappearance of their children during the military dictatorship in Argentina. The letter, which was sent through Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, was addressed to Hebe de Bonafini, president of the association.
According to a press release from the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father’s message was in response to a letter sent by de Bonafini, who was gladdened by Cardinal Bergoglio’s commitment in the “slums of Buenos Aires” as well as asking the Pope to join with “all those in this unjust world who are fighting for an end to poverty.”
“The Holy Father shares your sorrow, and that of the many mothers and families who have and are suffering the tragic loss of their loved ones at this moment in Argentina’s history,” the letter to de Bonafini stated.
“The Pope expresses his gratitude for the letter and responds to your kindness, asking God for the strength for the fight, in the ministry that he has just accepted, for the eradication of poverty in the world, so that the suffering of so many who are in need might cease.”
“His Holiness,” the message continued, “appreciates and highly esteems those who are close to the most disadvantaged and who make the effort to assist them, understand them, and meet their aspirations. In his prayers, he also asks that those responsible for the common good be enlightened so that they might fight the scourge of poverty with effective, equable, and caring means.”
The letter concluded with the Holy Father’s blessing “as a sign of hope and support, at the same time asking the favor that they pray for and have prayers said for him.”
Since 1977, the Association of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo have assembled every Thursday in front of the Casa Rosada (the “Pink House”, seat of the Argentinian government) to protest for the crimes committed during that era and to keep alive the memory of those missing.