This morning, Pope Francis received in audience a Delegation of the “Pro Petri Sede” Association. The following is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the audience.
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I welcome you joyfully, members of the Pro Petri Sede Association, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles, with which you nourish your faith and manifest your fidelity to the Successor of Peter. I express my gratitude for your commitment at the service of the poor.
The growing number of marginalized persons who live in great precariousness challenges us and calls for an impetus of solidarity to give them the material and spiritual support of which they are in need. And, at the same time, we have much to receive from the poor we approach and help. In the throes of their difficulties, they are often witnesses of what is essential, of family values; they are capable of sharing with one who is poorer than they are and they know how to rejoice, as I was also able to see on my recent apostolic visit to Asia
Indifference and egoism are always lurking. Care of the poor enriches us, putting us on a path of humility and truth. Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Their presence is a call to our common humanity, to the fragility of life, to our dependence on God and on brothers. Therefore I invite you, especially on the occasion of Lent, which is about to begin, to ask the Lord to give you a merciful and poor heart, which knows its own poverties and which spends itself for others (Cf. Message for Lent 2015). With the precious gift you make today to the Successor of Peter, you come to the aid of harshly tried populations in different parts of the world. With this solidarity you also offer them the spiritual comfort of not feeling forgotten in their trails, and of preserving hope. I thank you heartily for this on their behalf
I invite you also to pray insistently for peace, that political leaders might find ways of dialogue and reconciliation.
Dear friends, I hope your pilgrimage will enhance in each one the sense of belonging to the Church, which is a great family, and of the joy of proclaiming the Gospel to all. May fraternity be reinforced among you so that you are able to carry forward your mission at the service of the poor and the little ones, for whom Jesus has a special love. Entrusting you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Saint Peter and to the Saints of your countries, I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing upon you, upon your families and upon all the members of your Association. And, please, pray for me.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]