Here below is a translation of additional remarks from Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of Saint Joseph all’Aurelio, as he met with different parish groups Sunday night:
THE HOLY FATHER’S WORDS IN THE COURSE OF MEETINGS WITH DIFFERENT PARISH GROUPS
MEETING WITH CHILDREN
Good evening! Thank you for your very warm welcome! Thank you so much.
What team do you root for? A bit of everything, a bit of everything … There are those of you here who are going to make their First Communion. Do you know? This year was the 70th anniversary of my First Communion: 70 years ago I made my First Communion. A long time ago, no? I made it on October 8, 1944 – were some of you born at that time?
But I remember it as if it were today. I was prepared, for a year, by a very good Sister, who was called Dolores. She was so good. She taught me the catechism … And also the catechists, both were called Alice. They taught us. Then the day arrived. At that time, you couldn’t even have a drop of water before Mass, nothing, not even a drop of water. It was Pius XII who saved us from this dictatorship! He was good … And we all entered the church with our hands stuck together, like this … and we sang, a song that perhaps you know: O holy altar, guarded by the Angels, I come to you for the first time …” Is this song sung? It’s not sung. We sang this song. But I shall never forget that day.
And then, in the afternoon, we returned to the church for Confirmation – the same day. And Confirmation was done with all the children in a circle, in the church – they had removed the benches – and the Bishop passed by and gave us Confirmation. I don’t forget that day. You, who will make your First Communion, always remember that day your whole life: the first day that Jesus came in to us. He comes, makes himself one with us, makes himself our food, our nourishment to give us strength. And, also, don’t forget the catechists. Know that I have never forgotten them in my life; and when the Sister who prepared me died, on October 17 of the year ’87, I went there and was there with her corpse and I prayed so much, because that Sister brought me close to Jesus. Don’t forget the catechists, all right? Don’t forget the date, ok? And every year, on the date, go make a good Confession and Communion: all right? OK, thank you. Now I bless all the baby Jesus figurines, all. Lift up the babies, all of them! Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you. And please, pray for me!
MEETING WITH NOMADS
Thank you for your welcome … make yourselves comfortable. I greet you and wish you every good. May there always be peace in your families, may there be work, may there be joy — the joy of Jesus, the peace of Jesus, and thus to go forward. Do not lose hope in difficult moments, because hope does not disappoint: the Lord gives it. And, sooner or later, the Lord awaits us always, always. He is close to us. Perhaps we don’t see him, but he is close and loves us so much. Trust in the Lord, hope in the Lord and go forward with your work. I thank those who created the school of peace. The school of peace is a very important seed, which will give its fruits in time. Patience is needed, but it will give its fruits. Always forward with this. Thank you so much and, please, pray for me! We pray to Our Lady and then a blessing. Hail O Mary, … [Blessing] Thank you so much!
MEETING WITH THE SICK
I thank you for your welcome, thank you so much. Please, don’t forget to pray for me! Do you do it? I thank you also for the witness you give, witness of patience, of love of God, of hope in the Lord: this does so much good to the Church. You “water” the Church continually with your life, with your sufferings, with your patience. Thank you so much, I truly thank you. Without the sick, the Church would not go forward; you are strength in the Church, you are true strength. The Lord willed that you be visited by this sickness, but go forward: go forward with patience, also with joy. Joy is the peace that the Lord gives us, that peace within. We are all moving towards the end of our life, all of us … And here, the majority of us are of the past century … And so, we must look ahead because the Lord waits for us there. Yes, he always waits for us. We don’t know when it will be, but he waits for us. And this hope gives us peace and also joy. Thank you. Thank you so much for your witness and your existence in the Church. Let us pray to Our Lady: Hail O Mary, … [Blessing] And those, who are they? Monks? Friars? Ah, the students who are to become priests … [No, to become doctors! [laughs] They are frightened! [A word to the future doctors … ] Pray for me, pray for me. And forward! May the Lord bless your hands, that you may be good doctors in the future. Thank you.
MEETING WITH RECENTLY BAPTIZED CHILDREN
I thank you all for your welcome. It’s lovely to see so many children … A child always says a word of hope with his being; a child always goes forward, he leads us to the future … He is a seed of the future. There are so many things in a child, and you, parents — but you can’t say this; it’s something secret of each one of you – how many times do you think that the child: “will become this, or that, or this other in life …” and this is lovely, to think of the future, because it is a prayer. It is to say to God: “protect my child for the future.” Our hopes are in the little boy, in the little girl. We give them a seed of faith, of life and they will take it forward to their children, to their grandchildren … and life is like that. And, in Baptism, you gave the faith, you transmitted the faith through the Sacrament, but after many years, they will do the same with their children, and thus the faith – from the time of Jesus to today — is like a chain that is transmitted by parents. And this is a beautiful responsibility! Don’t forget the day of your Baptism, don’t ever forget it!
I should be somewhat curious to ask a question, but I won’t do so … Or I will do so, but I won’t ask for an answer … How many of you know the day of your Baptism? No, don’t say anything, don’t say anything … However, if you don’t know it, go find out: call your aunt, your mother, your godmother: “When was I baptized?” Because it is a feast day, that is, it is the day that we encountered Jesus for the first time. This is a task for the home.
When was I baptized? And this is beautiful, it’s beautiful! I was baptized, precisely, on Christmas Day! Eight days after my birth, in fact on that day, because at that time it was the custom – at least in Argentina – to baptize children eight days after their birth. Remember this always. I pray for you. May you have joy, joy with these children, joy in the home, joy in hope, so much joy. And I give you my blessing.
Let’s pray to Our Lady: Hail O Mary … [Blessing] I’ll tell you something. First of all, I ask you to pray for me, as I need it. However, what I wanted to say is this: children cry, make noise, go from one side to the other … and I am so annoyed when a child cries in church and people want him to go outside. No! It is the best homily! The cry of a child is God’s voice. Truly, never, never chase them out of the church! Thank you so much![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]