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Angelus Address: On the Closing of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region

‘The Cry of the Poor, Together with that of the Earth, Has Reached Us from the Amazon . . . We Cannot Pretend We Haven’t Heard It’

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Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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 Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The Mass celebrated this morning at Saint Peter’s closed the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region. The first reading, from the Book of Sirach, reminded us of the starting point of this journey: the invocation of the poor that “pierces the clouds,” because “God listens to the prayer of the oppressed” (Sirach 35:21.16). The cry of the poor, together with that of the earth, has reached us from the Amazon. After these three weeks, we cannot pretend we haven’t heard it. The voices of the poor, together with those of so many others within and without the Synodal Assembly — Pastors, young people, scientists — spur us not to remain indifferent. We heard often the phrase “later is too late”: it cannot remain a slogan.

What was the Synod? It was, as the word states, a walking together, comforted by the courage and the consolations that come from the Lord. We walked looking at one another in the eyes and listening to each other with sincerity, without hiding the difficulties, experiencing the beauty of going forward, united, to serve. In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul stimulates us in this: in a dramatic moment, while he knows that he is “already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of his departure has come” (Cf. 2 Timothy 4:6), he writes: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me the strength to proclaim the word fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it” (v. 17). See Paul’s last desire: not something for himself or for one of his own, but for the Gospel, so that it’s proclaimed to all the peoples. This comes first of all and counts more than all. Each one of us will be asked many times what good to do in one’s life. Let us ask ourselves today: “What good thing can I do for the Gospel?” We were asked this in the Synod, desiring to open new pathways for the proclamation of the Gospel. And first of all, we felt the need, like the publican in today’s Gospel (Cf. Luke 18:13-14), to place ourselves before the Lord, to put Him again at the center, at the personal level, and as Church, because one proclaims only what one lives. And to live of Jesus, to live of the Gospel, it’s necessary to come out of oneself. So we felt ourselves spurred to put out to sea, to leave the comfortable shores of our safe ports, to go into the deep waters: not in the swampy waters of ideologies, but in the open sea in which the Spirit invites to throw the nets. To go into the deep is to let ourselves be challenged by its novelty; it is to respond to the call to come out of ourselves and of our schemes so that the Gospel shines at the center with its style: poor in radicalism, missionary in the pastoral, synodal in communion.

For the journey ahead, we invoke the Virgin Mary, venerated and loved as Queen of Amazonia. She became so not by conquering but by “inculturating herself”: with the humble courage of a mother, she became the protectress of her little ones, the defense of the oppressed. To her, who took care of Jesus in the poor house of Nazareth we entrust the poorest children and our Common Home. May She, woman of hope, intercede so that the Holy Spirit may descend upon us, who with his sweet creativity, makes all things new.

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


After the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A special thought goes to the dear Lebanese people, in particular, to the young people that in the past days have made their cry heard in face of the challenges and social and economic problems of the country I exhort all to seek just solutions by way of dialogue, and I pray to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Lebanon, so that, with the support of the international community, that country may continue to be an area of peaceful coexistence and of respect for the dignity and freedom of every person, for the benefit of the whole Middle East Region.

I greet you all affectionately, Italian pilgrims and those of various countries, in particular, those from Sao Paulo of Brazil and from Poland, as well as the “Roman Academic Center Foundation” of Spain.

I greet the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, who are observing the centenary of their foundation; the Syro-Malabar community of the Diocese of Patti; the seminarians of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, who served the Mass in the Basilica this morning.

This is the last Sunday of October, and it is also the month of the Rosary. I renew the invitation to pray the Rosary for the Church’s mission today, in particular for the men and women missionaries who meet with greater difficulties And, at the same time, we continue to pray the Rosary for peace. The Gospel and peace walk together.

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]


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Virginia Forrester

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