This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:10 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.
In his address in Italian, the Pope focused his meditation on his Apostolic Journey to Romania, which just ended (Biblical passage: From the Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-2a.).
After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.
The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
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The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
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. 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.
In sum, as the Journey’s motto stated, I exhorted to “walk together.” And my joy was to be able to do so, not from afar, or from on high, but myself walking among the Romanian people, as a pilgrim in their land. The different meetings made evident the value and need to walk together, be it with Christians, on the plane of faith and charity, be it with citizens, on the plane of civil commitment.
As Christians, we have the grace of living a stage of fraternal relations between the different Churches. In Romania, the majority of the faithful belong to the Orthodox Church, led at present by Patriarch Daniel, to whom goes my fraternal and grateful thought. The Catholic community, be it “Greek” or “Latin” is alive and active. 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.
With the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, we had a very cordial meeting, in which I confirmed the will of the Catholic Church to walk together in reconciled memory and toward a fuller unity, which in fact the Romanian people invoked prophetically during Saint John Paul II’s visit. This important ecumenical dimension of the trip culminated in the solemn Prayer of the Our Father, inside the new and imposing Orthodox Cathedral of Bucharest. This was a moment of intense symbolic value because the Our Father is the Christian prayer par excellence, common patrimony of all the baptized. No one can say “My Father” and “Our Father,” no: “Our Father <is> the common patrimony of all the baptized. We manifested that unity doesn’t remove the legitimate diversities. May the Holy Spirit be able to lead us to live ever more as children of God and brothers among ourselves.
As Catholic Community, we celebrated three Eucharistic Liturgies. The first in the Cathedral of Bucharest on May 31, feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, icon of the Church on the way in faith and in charity; the second Eucharist was held in the Sumuleu Ciuc Shrine, the object of very many pilgrims. There, the Holy Mother of God brings together the faithful people in the variety of languages, of cultures and of traditions. And the third celebration was the Divine Liturgy at Blaj, center of the Greek-Catholic Church in Romania, with the Beatification of the seven Greek-Catholic Bishop-Martyrs, witnesses of the freedom and mercy that stem from the Gospel. One of these new Blesseds, Monsignor Iuliu Hossu, wrote during his imprisonment: “God has sent us into this darkness of suffering to forgive and to pray for the conversion of all.” Thinking of the tremendous tortures to which they were subjected, these words are a testimony of mercy.
Particularly intense and festive was the meeting with young people and families, held at Iasi, ancient city and important cultural center, crossroads between West and East. A place that invites to open ways on which to walk together, in the richness of diversity, in a freedom that doesn’t sever the roots but draws on them creatively. This meeting also had a Marian character and ended with the entrustment of young people and families to the Holy Mother of God.
The last stage of the trip was the visit to the Rom community of Blaj. The Rom are very numerous in that city; therefore, I wished to greet them and renew the appeal against all discriminations and for respect of persons of any ethnic group, language, and religion.
Dear brothers and sisters, we thank God for this Apostolic Journey and we ask Him, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that it may bear abundant fruits for Romania and for the Church in that land.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
Observed next Saturday, June 8, is the fifth anniversary of the meeting, here in the Vatican, of the Presidents of Israel and of Palestine with me and with Patriarch Bartholomew. At 1:00 pm we are invited to dedicate “a minute” of prayer “for peace,” for believers; of reflection, for those that don’t believe: all together for a more fraternal world. Thanks to International Catholic Action that is promoting this initiative.
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I’m happy to receive the Priests of the Diocese of Padua; the members of the Don Calabria Work; and the Handmaids of Mary, Ministers of the Infirm.
I greet the Parishes, especially that of Irsina; the faithful of the Fortore pastoral zone, of the Diocese of Benevento; the married couples accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Andrea Turazzi; the delegation of the Pilgrimage on foot from Macerata to Loreto, which will be held next Saturday; the participants in the tournament of Parishes: the Saint John Paul II Cup; the Local Police Professional Association of Italy; and the school Institutes, in particular that of Serracapriola.
A particular thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Next Sunday we will celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. May the Lord find all ready to receive the abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit. May the grace of His gifts infuse in you a new vitality to faith, reinvigorate hope and give operative strength to charity.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican