After his meeting with detainees, the Holy Father Francis went to the Cathedral of Isernia in the afternoon, where he greeted the sick gathered there.
On leaving the Cathedral, the Pope blessed a statue of Saint John the Evangelist, which the diocese gave for the re-opening of the Cathedral of Smirne and a crown for the statue of Our Lady of Peace of the diocesan Shrine of Fragnete.
Next, at 6:15 pm the Holy Father met with the citizenry in the Square of the Cathedral of Isernia, and proclaimed the Celestine Jubilee Year. Eight hundred years ago, Pietro del Morrone was born in Isernia. He was elected Pope on July 5, 1294 with the name Celestine V, and canonized in 1313. He is the only Pope before Benedict XVI to have resigned the papacy of his own accord.
After the introductory greeting of Bishop Camillo Cibotti of Isernia-Venafro, Pope Francis gave the address which we translate below.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for your warm welcome! I thank the Bishop, the Mayor, the different Authorities and all those who collaborated for this visit. This is today’s last meeting, and it is being held in a symbolic place: the Square of the Cathedral. The Square is the place where we meet as citizens, and the Cathedral is the place where we meet with God, listen to His Word, to live as brothers. In Christianity, there is no opposition between the sacred and the profane.
It is a strong idea which struck me, thinking of the legacy of Celestine V. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, he had a very strong sense of God’s mercy, and the fact that God’s mercy renews the world.
Like Francis of Assisi, Pietro del Morrone knew well the society of his time, with its great poverties. Both were very close to the people. They had the same compassion of Jesus for the many exhausted and oppressed persons. However, they did not limit themselves to dispense good advice or pious consolations. First of all was the fact they made a choice of a life against the current, they chose to entrust themselves to the Providence of the Father, not only as personal ascesis, but as prophetic testimony of a Paternity and a fraternity which are the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And it always strikes me that with their strong compassion for the people, these Saints felt the need to give the people the greatest thing: the Father’s mercy, forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In these words of the Our Father is a whole plan of life, based on mercy. Mercy, indulgence, the remission of debts, is not just something devotional, intimate, a spiritual palliative. No! It is the prophecy of a new world, in which the goods of the earth and of work are fairly distributed and no one is deprived of the necessary, because solidarity and sharing are the concrete consequence of fraternity.
See, then, the meaning of a new citizenship, which we feel strongly here, in this Square in front of the Cathedral, where we speak of the memory of Saint Pietro del Morrone, Celestine V. See the very timely meaning of the Celestine Jubilee Year, which I declare open from this moment, and during which the door of Divine Mercy will be open wide for all. It is not a flight, it is not an evasion of reality and its problems; it is the answer that comes from the Gospel: love as force of purification of consciences, force of renewal of social relations, force of planning for a different economy, which puts the person, work and family at the center rather than money and profit.
We are all aware that this way is not that of the world; we are not dreamers, naïve, nor do we wish to create oases outside of the world. Rather, we believe that this way is the one that is good for all, it is the way that brings us close to justice and peace. However, we also know that we are sinners, that we are first of all always tempted not to follow this way and to conform ourselves to the mentality of the world. Therefore, we entrust ourselves to God’s mercy, and we commit ourselves , with His grace, to bear fruits of conversion and works of mercy. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, accompany and support us always on this way.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]