On Saturday, Pope Francis greeted a group of pilgrims who celebrated the 50th anniversary of the election of Pope Paul VI to the papacy. The group came from the Diocese of Brescia where the late Pope was from.
Pope Francis began his address focusing on three aspects of the Paul VI’s papacy: his love for Christ, for the Church and for mankind. Recalling the late pontiff’s apostolic visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis said that his words a deep love for Christ that compelled him to announce the Gospel freely.
“Do we have the same love for Christ? Is He the center of our lives? Do we witness this in our everyday actions?,” the Pope asked.
Regarding Venerable Paul VI’s love for the Church, Pope Francis told the pilgrims that his predecessor had “a clear vision that the Church is a Mother who carries Christ and leads to Christ.” The Holy Father contemplated on the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Nuntiandi”, which posted several questions on the Church’s role in proclaiming the Gospel on the heels of the Second Vatican Council.
“All of us,” Pope Francis said, “we are all responsible for the answers; and we should ask ourselves: Are we really a Church united to Christ, prepared to go out and announce Him to everyone, even, and especially, in what I call the ‘existential suburbs,’ or do we close in on ourselves, in our groups?”
Regarding Venerable Paul VI’s love for mankind, Pope Francis stated his passion for man was the same as God’s which “compels us to meet man, to respect him, to recognize him, to serve him.”
The Holy Father quoted his predecessor’s address at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, where Paul VI warned of the effects of secular humanism and spoke extensively on the spirituality of the Council which “honors mankind.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis called on the participants from the Diocese of Brescia to follow the example of Paul VI’s, whose testimony “feeds us the flame of love for Christ, love for the Church, and gives us the momentum to announce the Gospel to the people of today, with mercy, patience, courage, and joy.”