The moment of Christian hope founded in the Risen Lord arises when “difficulties seem to obfuscate the prospects of a better future, when we experience failure and emptiness around us.”
These were the words of Pope Francis during an audience on Saturday with over 7,000 pilgrims from the diocese of Isernia-Venafro.
The Holy Father welcomed those present, recalling his visit to the diocese in July 2014. During that visit, he addressed the problems facing the population, particularly unemployment. The Pope once again conveyed his thoughts and prayers for them and the difficulties they face.
“Faced with this worrying scenario, a general mobilization is necessary, to unite the strengths of the population, the institutions, private entities and various civil bodies,” he said. “It is not possible to defer the concrete steps that need to be taken to favor the creation of new jobs, thus offering the young the possibility of realizing their potential through honest work.”
The Pope also noted the diocesan celebration of the jubilee year dedicated to Celestine V, who was from the region.
“Now I understand somewhat why Pope Celestine did not feel at ease in Rome, and went back to you – because of your joy!” the Pope said to them.
The jubilee year dedicated to his predecessor, he noted, “will also provide a preparatory stage for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Parishes, he said, “are called upon to be the privileged place for listening to and announcing the Gospel; a house of prayer around the Eucharist; a true school of communion, where the ardor of charity prevails over the temptation to a superficial and arid religiosity.”
The Jesuit Pope went on to say that it is precisely in the moments of difficulties that “obscure the prospects for a better future” where Christian hope arises.
“This is how your diocesan path, already admirably orientated to this way of charity, can involve more people and more social and institutional bodies in assisting those who are homeless or jobless, as well as those who are affected by forms of poverty both old and new, not only in order to take care of their urgent needs but also to build alongside them a more welcoming society, more respectful of diversity, more just and fraternal.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged the pilgrims to be “witnesses of solidarity” and to look “without fear and with hope to your future and that of your land.”