“I embrace you affectionately,” is how Pope Francis ends his video-message to Colombians, in preparation for his trip from September 6-11, 2017. He announced that he comes as a “pilgrim of hope and peace.”
This Latin American country, of some 48.7 million inhabitants, has as its neighbors Venezuela to the North-East, Panama to the West, Ecuador and Peru to the South-West and Brazil to the South-East. It has two maritime outlets: to the North on the Caribbean Sea, and to the West on the Pacific Ocean.
The Pontiff’s message, given in Spanish, was published in Spanish and Italian by the Holy See on Monday evening, September 4, 2017.
In it the Holy Father recalls the motto of his voyage: “Let Us Take the First Step.” He invites to take the first steps for reconciliation and peace in the country, in order to build “fraternity.”
Here is our complete translation of the Pope’s message, which lasted 4.25 minutes.
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Pope Francis’ Video-Message
Dear Colombian People.
In a few days, I will visit your country. I will go as a pilgrim of hope and of peace, to celebrate with you our faith in Our Lord and also to learn from your charity and constancy in search of peace and harmony.
I greet you warmly and I thank Mr President of the Republic and the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference, for the invitation to visit Colombia. I also thank each one of you, who receive me in your land and in your heart. I know that you have worked, and have worked a lot to prepare this meeting.; my gratitude to all those who have collaborated and continue to do so, to make it a reality.
“Let Us Take the First Step,” is the motto of this trip. It reminds us that it is always necessary to take a first step for any activity and project. It also pushes us to be the first to love, to create bridges, to create fraternity. To take the first step encourages us to go out to encounter the other, and to stretch out our hand and give one another the sign of peace. Peace is what Colombia has been seeking for a long time and works to obtain — a stable and durable peace, to see one another and treat each other as brothers, never as enemies. Pace reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves us and consoles us.
I feel honoured to visit that land rich in history, culture and faith, of men and women who have worked with tenacity and constancy so that it is a place where harmony and fraternity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, where to say brother and sister is not something strange but a true treasure to protect and defend. Today’s world is in need of consultors of peace and dialogue. The Church is also called to this task, to promote reconciliation with the Lord and with brothers, and also reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s creation and which we are exploiting in a savage way .
May this visit be a fraternal embrace for each one of you, in which we feel the consolation and tenderness of the Lord.
Dear Colombian brothers and sisters, I wish to live these days with you with a joyful spirit and gratitude to the Lord. I embrace you affectionately and I ask the Lord to bless you. to protect your coun0try, and to grant you peace.
May our Mother, the Holy Virgin take care of you. And please don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you and see you soon.