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Pope’s Words During February 25, 2018, Parish Visit (FULL TEXT)

Pastoral Visit to the Parish of Saint Pope Gelasius I, Pope, at Ponte Mammolo

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The afternoon of Sunday of Lent (February 25, 2018), Pope Francis made a pastoral visit to the Roman parish of Saint Pope Gelasius I, entrusted to the priests of the World Mission Church, in the neighborhood of Ponte Mammolo.
On his arrival at 3:30 pm, the Pope was received by Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome, by Monsignor Guerino di Tora, Auxiliary Bishop for the North sector, by parish priest Father Giuseppe Raciti and by the vice-parish priest, Father Alfio Carbonaro.
Pope Francis met with children and youngsters of the catechesis, with young people of the Oratory and families in the sports field. Subsequently, he met with the sick and the elderly in the theater, then, in several rooms of the parish, he met the poor and the workers of the Caritas center, which assists them, and the volunteers of the Pharmaceutical and Food Bank. Following, then, was the Holy Father’s conversation with two young people from the Republic of Gambia, age 18 and 25 respectively, guests of the parish. He then met with the family of little Giulia Rinaldo, one of the victims of the August 24, 2016, earthquake in Central Italy, and with the members of the “Immensely Giulia” Association founded by them, and a visit to the Acli center, a reality in which the Acli System of Rome has started for some years innovative projects in the social and sports ambits. Finally, the Pope heard the Confessions of some penitents.
At 5:30 pm, the Holy Father presided over the Holy Mass in the parish church. Concelebrating with Pope Francis were other parish priests of the 11th Prefecture, parish priest emeritus, and a few priests, friends of the community. After the Second Reading of the Liturgy, entrusted to a blind parishioner, and the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Father gave an off-the-cuff homily.
At the end, the Pope returned to the Vatican.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the transcription of the homily and of the off-the-cuff words that the Pope pronounced in the course of the various meetings in the parish.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Homily
Jesus made the Apostles see him as He is in Heaven: glorious, luminous, and victorious. And He did so to prepare them to endure the Passion, the scandal of the cross because they couldn’t understand that Jesus would die as a criminal – they couldn’t understand it. They thought that Jesus was a Liberator, but as earthly liberators are, those who win in battle, those that are always triumphant. <But> Jesus’ way is another: Jesus triumphs through humiliation, the humiliation of the cross. However, as this would have been a scandal for them, Jesus makes them see what comes after, what there is after the cross, what awaits all of us: this glory and this Heaven. And this is very beautiful! It’s very beautiful because Jesus — and listen well to this – prepares us always for trial, in one way or another, but this is the message: He prepares us always. He gives us the strength to go on, in moments of trials, and to overcome them with His strength. Jesus doesn’t leave us alone in life’s trials: he always prepares us, helps us, as He prepared these [disciples], with the vision of His glory. And thus they later remembered this [moment], to endure the weight of the humiliation. This is the first thing that the Church teaches us: Jesus prepares us always for trials and He is with us in trials; He doesn’t leave us alone – never.
The second thing we can gather from God’s words” “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!” This is the message that the Father gives to the Apostles. Jesus’ message is to prepare them to see His glory; the Father’s message is: “Listen to Him.” There is no moment in life that can’t be lived fully by listening to Jesus. In lovely moments, to stop and listen to Jesus; in awful moments, stop and listen to Jesus. This is the way. He will tell us what we must do – always.
And we go forward in this Lent with these two things: in trials, remember Jesus’ glory, namely, what awaits us; <emember that Jesus is always present with the glory to give us strength. And throughout our life, <we must> listen to Jesus, what Jesus is saying: He always speaks to us in the Gospel, in the Liturgy, or in our heart. Perhaps we will have problems in daily life, or have to resolve many things. Let us ask ourselves this question: what is Jesus saying to me today? And let’s try to listen to Jesus’ voice, the inspiration within. And so we follow the Father’s counsel: ”This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!” It’s Our Lady who gives us the second counsel, at Cana of Galilee, when there is the miracle of the water [turned into] wine. What does our Lady say? “Do whatever He tells you.” To listen to Jesus and to do what He says: this is the sure way. Going ahead with the memory of Jesus’ glory, with this counsel: listen to Jesus and do what He tells us.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Pope’s Words, in the Course of Various Meetings in the Parish; Meeting with the Children and Youngsters of Catechesis, the Young People of the Oratory and Families
Child: Pope Francis, these are presents for you. They are letters, a hat with the writing: “We wait for you with joy. The children of the parish of Saint Gelasius I, Pope.”
Pope Francis:
Come! . . . He says that you waited for me with joy. It’s not true! You waited for me with rain! [He laughs, they laugh] Amelia:
Hello, Pope Francis. I’m Amelia and I’m part of the group of the third year of catechesis, which this year makes its First Communion. Every Sunday we animate the 10 o’clock Mass with children who, in any case, always take part, reading the Prayer of the Faithful, doing the Offertory and sometimes also singing in the choir. We were waiting for you with joy and we are very happy that you are here. The persons you see in this field are catechists, children of the catechesis, families, leaders, and youngsters of the choir. We do the catechesis to learn to know Jesus better and to learn from His example.
Pope Francis:
Thank you! Thank you! You were good.
Hello, Pope Francis. My name is Luca, I’m part of the second year of catechesis for Communion. The Oratory is in this park where we find ourselves. Here we have so much fun doing tournaments and a lot of games organized by the Church. Then we take part in the Masses, in summer centers, in the celebration of carnival, of which the last was the most entertaining, in which we sang, danced and played with all the different costumes, which were very beautiful.
Pope Francis:
Oh, how lovely!
So we are becoming one very big family and we love a lot.
Pope Francis:
Thank you, thank you, <you are> good!
Giorgia :
Hello, Pope Francis. I’m Giorgia. As the children said to you, we are very happy to have you here. I’m part of the “catechists’ help.” In our little way, we do our service to help the Church because — as you said — we young people are the spring and, therefore, in fact, we want to be so true, helping with our little bit the animation of the Mass for the littlest ones and then the catechism, the celebrations . . . a bit of everything. We want to leave a sign as others persons did with us. And now I give you the floor.
Pope Francis:
Thank you!
Hello, Pope Francis. I’m Matteo, a boy of the neighborhood of Rebibbia. I like to play soccer so much and I play in many fields, but when I play in this field, I feel at home. In this Oratory, I feel loved: they have suggested that I become a leader of the Oratory to have the smallest youngsters play. I’m happy with this proposal and I will commit myself to do it. We know that you also like soccer and I would like to ask you to sign the ball.
Pope Francis:
Yes! Bring it . . .
But I have a question to ask you: at what time did you arrive here? From what time have you been waiting here? [They answer two hours, since two o’clock] Since two o’clock? And it’s four o’clock! But you’ve all been soaked! Thank you! Thank you for your patience. You are good! And an applause for all of you. Thank you.
And listen to this: life is somewhat like this afternoon, because sometimes there is sun, but at other times clouds come, rain comes and bad weather comes. Know that in life there are beautiful times and bad times. What must a Christian do? Go forward with courage, in beautiful and bad times. Understood? There will be storms in life . . . Go forward! Jesus guides you. There will be luminous days . . . Go forward! Jesus guides you. So, what should a Christian do?  Go . . . “forward!” They answer. I can’t hear you well . . . [shouting: “forward!”]. Forward. In times . . . ? First the bad: in times . . .  [they answer: “bad”] and in times [they answer “beautiful”]. Let’s all say it together: go forward in bad times and in beautiful times]. Thank you.  You say it alone: [Go forward in awful times and in beautiful times”] Thank you. And who accompanies you?  [They answer: “Jesus!”] Who? [They answer “Jesus”]. But Jesus only in beautiful times . . . [They answer: “No!”] Is Jesus also in bad times? [They answer: “Yes!”] Are you sure? [They answer, “Yes!” ]And what must we do in bad times, those that make us suffer, whose hand must we take? The hand of . . . [They answer: “of Jesus!”], because Jesus takes us forward by the hand. Each one think — but don’t say anything,  don’t say anything –:  “Do I let Jesus take me by the hand?” “Well, sometimes no, Father, because I do things that aren’t so good or I’m bored . . . “ But Jesus is always with us! And if I make a mistake in life, does Jesus go away? [They answer: “No!’] I don’t understand . . . [Shouting: “No!” “Does He stay? [They answer: “Yes!”] And is He happy? [They answer: “Yes . . . no . . .”] If I make a mistake, He is happy?  [They answer: “No!”] No! He is saddened, but He doesn’t go away; He accompanies us always. Remember this: in the most awful moments, or in moments when we do the worst things, Jesus stays there because He loves us so much. Understood? [They answer: “Yes!’] Who is next to us in beautiful things? [They answer: “Jesus!”] And in bad things? [They answer: “Jesus!”] And He doesn’t go away . . . [They answer: “Never!” “He doesn’t get bored?” [They answer: “No!”] It’s we who get bored, no? Thank you. May the Lord bless you; thank you, and pray for me! Thank you.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Fo
Meeting with the Elderly and the Sick
Pope Francis:
I would like to thank you for what you do for the world and for what you do for the Church. Perhaps one of you is thinking: “But what do I do for the world? I don’t go to the United Nations, I don’t go to meetings . . . I’m here, at home . . . What do I do for the Church? The Church is the one that does for me . . . “Perhaps you think thus. No. This witness, each one with faith, loving people, expressing good wishes to others, is like preserving the fire. You are the embers, the embers of the world under the ashes: these embers are under difficulties, under wars, embers of faith, embers of hope, embers of hidden joy. Please, preserve the embers you have in your heart, with your witness. There are problems that exist, there are problems that will come, but being aware that I have a mission in the world and in the Church: to take forward that hidden fire, the fire of a life. Because your life was not futile: it was fire, fire, it has given warmth, it has done so many things. However, in the end, the fire dies down and the embers remain. Don’t forget this: you are the embers of the world, the embers of the Church to have access to the fire.
And, please, talk with young people: listen to young people. They need it!  Don’t reprimand young people, no, no. Let them speak; ask them many things that come to mind, because it’s not easy to understand young people. But speak with them. They need your experience; they need that hidden fire that is in your embers. Understood? Don’t forget: I’m an ember of Jesus, ember of history, ember of the world, ember of the Church. You are the embers under the ashes. Thank you so much, and pray for me, I need it!
Now I will give you the Blessing: May the Lord Jesus bless you much, may the Father bless you and may the Spirit come into your heart to maintain these embers.
[Blessing] And don’t forget three things: you are embers; second, talk with young people, and pray for the Pope. The three things, thank you. See you later.
[As he leaves} What were the three things? First . . . [They answer: “The ember’]. Second . . . [They answer [”Talk with young people”]. The third? [They answer: “Pray for the Pope . . . if the Pope prays for us!”] But pray . . . in favor or against the Pope? [He laughs, they laugh] . . . [They answer: “In favor!”] What you say is true: the Pope will pray for you!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
Meeting with the Poor
Pope Francis:
Thank you so much for coming!
[They answer] Thank you!
Pope Francis:
And there are so many children, so many youngsters: this is beautiful! It’s beautiful to find the new life that’s coming and to help it grow. This is a work that we all do together: help new life to grow, which is the future, our future, and take care of it well. Take care of life. We must learn this word well. Life is taken care of, not discarded. “Well, you know that I have an aunt, an uncle who is very sick, he’s there, but let him take care of himself . . . “ No, this isn’t done, this is to reject: life is never discarded, never, never, never. It’s taken care of, and what you all do is to take care of life: little life, great life, middle-age life . . . take care of life. I dare also say a word: caress life.  It’s so lovely to caress life, because life is always a gift of God, always, always. And when respect for life is neglected, and when the care of life is neglected, that civilization fails, slowly . . . And today we see so many, many people that don’t take care of life, they neglect life . . . “But children hamper, better they don’t come, get rid of them . . . And the elderly hamper: we leave them aside and let them take care f themselves as they can.” No, not this, because a country’s future, a culture’s future, a family’s future is in life. Oh, Father, we have another future, we have so much money and have bank accounts . . . “ But this serves for nothing. If you don’t take care of life, this money serves nothing. I knew a gentleman who was avaricious, very avaricious, and he had no children. His wife was a victim of his . . . but he was avaricious to the point that the doctor told him — his mother was sick — to give his mother a yogurt at a certain time; and he gave her half to save the other half!  And he had so much money, so much money . . . What did that man leave behind? The people made fun of him. Why? Because after his funeral, do you know what the people said? “It was a beautiful funeral, but the problem was when they wanted to close the coffin” – “Why?” – “because they were unable to close it” – “Why” – “Because he wanted to take everything with him!” Nothing is taken! That man didn’t take care of life; he was only interested in money, in his own affairs . . . No, take care of life, caress life.  There are rich people, there are less rich people, there are poor <people> there are people in need, there are people that need medicine . . . However, it’s always necessary to take care of life. Life is the main thing because it’s something that can’t be made in a laboratory: God gives it, God preserves it. Yes, laboratories will help you with medicines to preserve life, but life is a gift of God.
And thank you, because what you do is to take care of life, to make life grow. Take care of life. Thank you for this, thank you so much.  And pray for me.
And now, each one in silence, ask the Lord for what he is in most need, for himself, or for persons that are with him or with you, inside here. And pray also for me. And may the Lord bless you, all of you. Thank you.
[The parish priest or a leader of the parish] Holy Father, we thank you particularly for the help they receive from the Apostolic Almonry. So, thank you. Let’s say it: thank you!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
Final Greeting Outside the Church
I’m thinking of something: to open a parish in the North Pole, and you, who felt so much cold, can go there to make the parish . . . what do you say? Do you like it?
Thank you, thank you for having stayed here, in the cold. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for your welcome and your kindness. May the Lord bless you a lot. And now I would like to give you the Blessing. Let us pray for one another, for all the families of the parish, for the priests, for all those that work here and all the faithful and the non-faithful.
[Blessing] And please, I ask you to pray for me, don’t forget. Thank you! Thank you!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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Virginia Forrester

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