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Where’s Pope Francis? ‘I Was Stuck in an Elevator’

Holy Father Explains Why He Arrived Late for His Weekly Angelus

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Sorry to be late. I was stuck in the elevator….

It sounds like a joke, but this what Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered and waiting for him in St. Peter’s Square, Sept. 1, 2019.

“First of all I apologize for the delay,” the Holy Father explained his late arrival for the Angelus address, “but there was an incident.”

“I was stuck in the elevator for 25 minutes! There was a voltage drop and the elevator stopped,” he explained.

“Thank God,” Francis expressed, “the firemen came — I thank them so much! — and, after 25 minutes of work, they succeeded in making it go.”

The Holy Father before resuming his planned Angelus address, called for an applause for the firemen.


Here is a ZENIT working translation of the Pope’s full address:


Angelus Address: On Humility and Selfless Generosity

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

First of all I apologize for the delay, but there was an incident: I was stuck in the elevator for 25 minutes! There was a voltage drop and the elevator stopped. Thank God the firemen came — I thank them so much! — and, after 25 minutes of work, they succeeded in making it go — an applause for the firemen!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. Luke 14:1.7-14) shows us Jesus going to dine in the house of a ruler of the Pharisees. Jesus looks and observes how the guests run — hasten to take the first places. It’s a rather widespread attitude, also in our days, and not only when one is invited to a lunch: generally, the first place is sought to affirm a presumed superiority over others. In reality, this seeking of the first places hurts the community, be it civil or ecclesial, because it destroys fraternity. We all know these people: climbers, who always climb to go up, up… They harm fraternity, they damage fraternity. In face of that scene, Jesus tells two brief parables.

The first parable is addressed to one who is invited to a banquet, and He exhorts him not to put himself in the first place, “lest — He says — a more eminent man than you be invited, and he who invited you both will come, and say to you, ‘Give place to this man!’’ — a disgrace!  “Then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place” (vv. 8-9). Instead, Jesus teaches to have the opposite attitude: “When you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher!’” (v. 10). Therefore, we must not seek of our initiative the attention and consideration of others but, if anything, let others give it to you. Jesus always shows us the way of humility — we must learn the way of humility! —  as it is the most genuine, which also makes it possible to have genuine relationships. True humility, not feigned humility, that which in Piedmont is called mugna quacia, no, not that, <but> true humility.

In the second parable, Jesus turns to the host and, referring to the way of choosing the guests for the feast, He says to him: “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you” (vv. 13-14). Here, too, Jesus goes completely against the current, manifesting, as always, the logic of God the Father. And He also adds the key to interpret His address. And what is the key? A promise: if you do so, “you will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just (v. 14). This means that one who behaves this way will have the divine reward, much greater than the human repayment: I will do you this favour, expecting that you will do me another. No, this isn’t Christian. Humble generosity is Christian. In fact, the human repayment usually falsifies relationships, renders them “commercial,” introducing personal interest in a relationship that should be generous and free. Instead, Jesus invites to selfless generosity, to open the way toward a much greater joy, the joy of being sharers in the very love of God, who awaits us, all of us, in the heavenly banquet.

May the Virgin Mary, “humble and higher than a creature” (Dante, Paradise, XXXIII, 2) help us to recognize ourselves as we are, namely, small, and to rejoice in giving without a return.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

Today, September 1, is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It’s an ecumenical prayer, which encourages awareness and commitment to protect our common home, with a more sustainable personal and family life. From today on, — until October 4, feast of Saint Francis of Assisi –, is a favourable time to praise God for all His creatures and for assuming responsibility in face of the Earth’s cry.

I greet you all, from Italy and from various parts of the world. In particular, I greet the Ukrainian pilgrims — Slava Jisusu Khristu! –that have come from several countries, on the occasion of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which will take place in Rome in the coming days. I greet the Sisters and young people in formation of the San Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo Institute. Thank you!  Thank you for your witness! Thank you for what you do and for what you teach; go on, go on! The cyclists of Cunardo and the faithful of Cerro di Bottanuco; the Catholic Action group of Lecce and the young people of San Matteo della Decima, Gallo Ferrarese and Capriate San Gervasio.

Next Wednesday, God willing, I will leave for an Apostolic Journey to Africa, to visit the populations of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. I ask you to accompany me with prayer, so that this pastoral visit will bear the desired fruits.

Next October 5, I will hold a Consistory for the appointment of ten new Cardinals. Their provenance expresses the missionary vocation of the Church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all men on earth. Here are the names of the new Cardinals:

Monsignor Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue;

Monsignor Jose Tolentino Calaca de Mendonca, Archivist and Librarian if the Holy Roman Church;

Monsignor Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Archbishop of Jakarta;

Monsignor Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez, Archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana;

Monsignor Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa;

Monsignor Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxemburg;

Monsignor Alvaro Leonel Ramazzini Imeri, Bishop of Huehuetenango;

Monsignor Mattep Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna;

Monsignor Cristobal Lopez Romero, Archbishop of Rabat;

Father Michael Czerny, S.J., Under-Secretary of the Migrants Section of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development.

Together with them, I will join to the members of the College of Cardinals two Archbishops and one Bishop, who have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church: Monsignor Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Archbishop Emeritus of Nepte; Monsignor Sigitas Tamkevicius, Archbishop Emeritus of Kaunas; Monsignor Eugenio Dal Corso, Bishop Emeritus of Benguela.

Let us pray for the new Cardinals so that, confirming their adherence to Christ, they may help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the benefit of all the holy people of God.

And I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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