Christmas can warm the coldest hearts and remove the barriers of indifference.
This morning, Dec. 15, 2017, Pope Francis gave this reminder to those performing in and organizing the ‘Christmas in the Vatican’ Concert. The concert will be held on Saturday, December 16, in Paul VI Hall, under the direction of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The proceeds will go to the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation and to the Don Bosco in the World Foundation.
Upon his arrival in the Clementine Hall, Pope Francis was received with a Christmas song interpreted by the artists, including children of the Little Choir of Piazza Vittorio and the choristers of the Art Voice Academy and the Hallelujah Gospel Singers.
Francis began expressing his appreciation for the participation of all those present in the event, particularly since, he stressed, the proceeds will go to finance two projects to help children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and young people of Argentina.
“Christmas — we know — is a warm, widely celebrated feast, able to warm the coldest hearts, to remove the barriers of indifference to one’s neighbor, to encourage openness to the other and free giving.”
“Therefore, there is need also today to spread the message of peace and fraternity proper of Christmas; there is need to represent this event by expressing the genuine sentiments that animate it.”
Art, the Holy Father pointed out, is a formidable means to open the doors of the mind and of the heart to the true meaning of Christmas. “The creativity and genius of the artists, with their works, also with music and singing,” Francis said, “succeed in reaching the most intimate registers of the conscience.”
“Art enters precisely in the depth of the conscience,” he said.
The Pontiff also expressed his wish that the concert may be an occasion to sow tenderness –” this word so forgotten today!”
“Violence,” “war” . . . no, no, tenderness – to sow tenderness, peace and hospitality, which spring from the Bethlehem cave.”
Pope Francis concluded, renewing to each of them his gratitude, wishing them a joyful and peaceful Christmas, and reminding them to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page: