Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after the recitation of the Regina Coeli to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica.
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Dear brothers and sisters, hello!
Today the reading from the Acts of the Apostles makes us see that in the primitive Church too tensions and dissent. There are conflicts in life and the problem is how to deal with them. Until that time the unity of the Christian community had been helped by the fact that its members belonged to the same ethnic group, the same culture. They were all Jews. But when Christianity – which by Jesus’ will is destined for all people – opens up to Greek culture, this homogeneity disappears and the first difficulties occur. At that moment malcontent spreads, there are complaints, rumors of favoritism and unequal treatment circulate. This happens in our parishes too! The community’s assistance of needy people – widows, orphans and poor people generally – seems to privilege the Christians of Jewish extraction over others.
So, in the face of this conflict, the Apostles take the situation in hand: they call a meeting that is includes disciples too, they discuss the issue together. Everyone. Problems do not go away by pretending that they do not exist! And this frank confrontation between pastors and faithful is beautiful. A subdivision of tasks is thus established. The Apostles make a proposal that is accepted by everyone. They will dedicate themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, while 7 men, the deacons, will provide service at meals and to the poor. These 7 are not chosen because they are experts but because they are honest men with good reputations, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. They are installed in their service by the imposition of the hands of the Apostles. And in this way, from the state of malcontent, from that complaining, from those rumors of favoritism and unequal treatment they passed to a solution. Confronting each other, debating, praying – it is in this way that conflicts are resolved in the Church. Confronting each other, debating and praying. With the certainty that gossip, envy, jealousy never lead to concord, to harmony or to peace. The Holy Spirit was there too, crowning this agreement and this helps us understand that when we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, he brings us to harmony, to unity and to respect for different gifts and talents. Have you truly understood this? No gossip, no envy, no jealousy! Do you understand?
May the Virgin Mary help us to be docile to the Holy Spirit, so that we know how to respect each other and be ever more united in faith and charity, keeping our hearts open to the needs of our brothers.[Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father again addressed those gathered in St. Peter’s Square:]
Dear brothers and sisters,
Terrible floods have devastated large parts of the Balkans, above all in Serbia and Bosnia. As I entrust the victims of this calamity to the Lord, I express my personal nearness to those who are experiencing a time of anxiety and tribulation. Let us pray to Our Lady together for these brothers and sisters, who are in such difficulties.
Yesterday in Iaşi, Romania Bishop Anton Durcovici, a martyr for the faith, was beatified. He was a zealous and courageous pastor and was persecuted by the Romanian communist regime. He died in prison of hunger and thirst in 1951. Together with the faithful of Iaşi and of all Romania let us thank God for this!
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims: families, parish groups, associations, schools…
In particular I greet the students of the Catholics schools from Madrid and Pamplona, from Mexico and from Colombes, France, the young people from “Our Lady of the Snow” in Genoa, the children from the “Holy Face” Center in Bari.
I greet the delegations from the city of Perth (Australia) and Vasto (Italia), which have been twinned for 25 years; the faithful from Tombolo, Grezzana, Cerignola, San Biagio, San Fiorano, Parabita, Patù, Bronte, Cassino and Dogana; the choir from Brindisi, the circle of elderly people from Locara, the Little Emmaus Fraternity of St. Benedict from Tronto, the young people of Lodi and Atri.
I encourage the associations of volunteers who have come for the Day of Cancer Victims. I pray for you and for the sick and the families. And pray for me!
I wish everyone a good Sunday! Have a good lunch and goodbye![Translation by Joseph Trabbic]