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In this moment of profound communion in Christ we also feel the presence of the Virgin Mary living among us. It is a maternal, familiar presence, especially for you who belong to the confraternaties. Love for the Madonna is one of the characteristics of popular piety, which must be valued and directed. For this reason I invite you to meditate on the last chapter of the second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church, “Lumen gentium,” which speaks precisely of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Church. There it is stated that Mary “advanced in the pilgrimage of faith” (58). Dear friends, in the Year of Faith I present this portrait of Mary the pilgrim, who follows the Son Jesus and precedes all of us in the journey of faith.
Today the Eastern Churches, which follow the Julian Calendar, celebrate the feast of Easter. I would like to send these brothers and sisters a special greeting, uniting with them with my whole heart in proclaiming the glad tidings: Christ is risen! Recollected in prayer around Mary, we ask God for the gift the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, that he might console and comfort all Christians – especially those who celebrate Easter amidst trials and suffering – and guide them in the path of reconciliation and peace.
Yesterday in Brazil Francisca de Paula De Jesus, called “NháChica,” was proclaimed blessed. Her simple life was dedicated wholly to God and to charity, so much so that she was called “mother of the poor.” I share the joy of the Church in Brazil over this luminous disciple of the Lord.
I greet with affection all of the confraternities that have come here from many countries. Thank you for your testimony of faith! I greet also the parish and family groups along with the parade of various musical bands and associations of Schützen who have come from Germany.
I offer a special greeting today to the “Meter” Association on this special day remembering children who are victims of violence. And this provides me with the occasion to direct a thought to those who have suffered and sufffer from abuse. I would like to to assure them that you are present in my prayer, and I would also like firmly to say that we must all cleary and courageously work that every human person, especially children, who are among the most vulnerable, might be defended and protected.
I also encourage those afflicted with pulmonary hypertension.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]