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Romania: Pope Celebrates Children and Families in Iasi

‘Today is Children’s Day in Romania…I would like us to do is to pray for them, asking the Blessed Virgin to shelter them under her mantle.’

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June 1 is Children’s Day in Romania and this year the nation’s children had a special guest who celebrated with them and their families: Pope Francis.
«Today is Children’s Day in Romania – let’s greet them with a round of applause!,» the Holy Father proclaimed. «The first thing I would like us to do is to pray for them, asking the Blessed Virgin to shelter them under her mantle. Jesus placed children in the midst of his Apostles; we too want to put them at the center.  We want to reaffirm our commitment to love them with the same love with which the Lord loves them and to make every effort to ensure their right to a future.»
The Pope’s remarks came before a huge crowd of children and families in the square in front of the Palace of Culture in Isai, Romania’s second-largest city. It was day two of his Mary 31-June 2 apostolic journey to Romania, the 30th journey of his pontificate.
Drawing on the «journeying together» theme of his Romanian visit, the Holy Father stressed that journeying together was a beautiful gift — but he admitted it isn’t always easy. He emphasized the importance of the elderly in sharing their wisdom and experience with the young.
«Journeying together is not easy, is it? It is a gift that we have to ask for,» Francis said. » A work of art for us to create, a beautiful gift for us to hand on. But where do we start?»
The Pope started by referring to the testimony before his talk by an elderly couple, Elisabeta and Ioan. He cited their long marriage the fruit of their union: children and grandchildren. And he recommended their example to young people.
«When you grow up, do not forget your mother and your grandmother, and the simple but robust faith that gave them the strength and tenacity to keep going and not to give up,» Francis said. «It is a reason for you to give thanks and to ask for the generosity, courage, and selflessness of a “home-grown” faith that is unobtrusive, yet slowly but surely builds up the Kingdom of God.»
The Pope stressed the importance of love and God, warning that without those two elements it is impossible to truly live on earth. He explained:
«Life begins to wilt and droop, our hearts stop beating and wither, the elderly no longer dream and young people no longer prophesy when pathways between neighbors disappear… Because without love and without God, no one can live on the earth.»
Pope Francis said that each person receives a vocation from the Lord and has the challenge to discover the talents and abilities they have received and use them to serve others. He said this isn’t so much about programs or projects, but allowing faith to grow.
«This is much greater freedom than simply being able to consume and buy things,» the Holy Father said. «It is a vocation that sets us in motion, makes us fill in trenches and open up new avenues to remind us all that we are children and brothers and sisters to one another.
«Romania is the ‘garden of the Mother of God’, and in this meeting, I have been able to realize why. Mary is a Mother who encourages her children’s dreams, who cherishes their hopes, who brings joy to their homes. She is a tender and true Mother who cares for us. You are that living, flourishing and hope-filled community that we can offer to our Mother. To her let us consecrate the future of young people, families and the Church. Mulţumesc! [Thank you!]»

The Holy Father’s Full Address

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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