“I am preparing myself to come among you as a fraternal messenger of peace, to express to everyone – to everyone! – my respect and friendship.”
Pope Francis said these words in a video message addressed to the people of Sarajevo and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Holy Father will be visiting the country on Saturday, June 6th.
In his message, the Pope said that he was visiting in order to “confirm the Catholic faithful in the faith, to support ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and above all to encourage peaceful coexistence in your country.”
Addressing the people of Bosnia & Herzegovina, the 78-year-old Pontiff encouraged the faithful to stand side by side with their fellow citizens as “witnesses of faith and the love of God.”
Concluding his message, Pope Francis expressed his joy at his upcoming visit and invoked a blessing upon the country.
The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s video message:
Dear brothers and sisters,
There are only a few days left until the journey that will take me in your midst, in Sarajevo. This thought gives me joy, and I wish now to address my most cordial greeting to you all who live in this city and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I come among you, with the help of God, to confirm the Catholic faithful in the faith, to support ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and above all to encourage peaceful coexistence in your country. I invite you to join in my prayers, so that this Apostolic trip may produce the desired fruits for the Christian community and for the whole society.
“Peace be with you”. This is the theme of my Visit. They are words with which the Risen Jesus greeted his disciples when he appeared in their midst in the Cenacle, the evening of Passover. It is He, the Lord, our strength and our hope, who gives us His peace, so that we may receive Him in our hearts and to spread it with joy and love.
For my part, I am preparing myself to come among you as a fraternal messenger of peace, to express to everyone – to everyone! – my respect and friendship. I would like to announce to every person, every family, every community the mercy, tenderness and love of God.
Dear brothers and sisters of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
I assure to you all my affection and my strong spiritual closeness. I encourage you Catholics to stand beside your fellow citizens as witnesses of faith and the love of God, working for a society that walks towards peace, in brotherhood and mutual cooperation.
Awaiting to meet you, I invoke upon Sarajevo and upon the entire country the blessing of the Lord and the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary.
Thank you and see you soon!
[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]