Pope Francis looked back with gratitude on his May 31-June 2 apostolic journey to Romania during his June 5, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. He stressed that the Catholic community in that nation is “alive and active”.
“Last weekend I undertook an Apostolic Journey to Romania, invited by the President and the Lady Prime Minister. I renew to them my gratitude, which I extend to the other Civil and Ecclesiastical Authorities, and to all those that collaborated in the realization of this visit,” Pope Francis said. “I especially thank God, who permitted the Successor of Peter to return to that country, 20 years after the visit of Saint John Paul II.”
The Holy Father recalled the motto for the trip: “Let Us Walk Together,’ for our unity”. And he expressed his joy that he was able to “walk together” with the people of Romania – “as a pilgrim in their land”.
He stressed the “fraternal relations” among the various churches in Romania, where more than 80 percent of the population is Orthodox. He offered a special thought of fraternal gratitude to Patriarch Daniel, who heads the Orthodox Church in Romania.
“The Catholic community, be it ‘Greek’ or ‘Latin’ is alive and active,” Francis said. “Christian union, although incomplete, is based on the one Baptism and sealed by the blood and suffering endured together in the dark times of persecution, in particular in the last century under the atheist regime. There is as well another Lutheran community, which also professes faith in Jesus Christ, and is in good relations with the Orthodox and the Catholics.”
Pope Francis recalled several of the key moments in his pilgrimage to Romania:
- Meeting with the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church
- Celebration of three Catholic liturgies
- Beatification of the seven Greek-Catholic Bishop-Martyrs
- Meeting with young people and families
- Visit to the Rom community of Blaj.