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I want to say thank you, many thanks! From the start you accompanied me with your prayer, with your affection and your precious service in various celebrations. For this I thank you from my heart.
I know that “behind the scenes” there is a lot of organizational work. And I know that, besides your service of welcome in the Basilica of St. Peter, for your liturgical celebrations, your apostolate also extends to cultural and charitable activities. Charity – concrete attention toward others, toward the poor, weak and needy – is above all a distinguishing mark of the Christian. You also have an intense program of formation for candidates and young apprentices who want to participate in the life of your association. Growing in the knowledge and love of God is essential for bringing his mercy to all and living it, seeing his Face in the face of those we meet. For all of this, I would like to express my appreciation and my gratitude. I also congratulate the 22 new members who made their promises this morning: may Christ’s love always be your certainty, to be his generous and convinced witnesses!
It is wonderful to be a part of an association, like yours, composed of men of different ages, united in a common desire to bear special witness of Christian life, serving the Church and our brothers without asking anything in exchange. This is beautiful: to serve without asking anything in exchange, as Jesus did. Jesus served all of us and asked nothing in exchange! Jesus did things gratuitously and you do things gratuitously. Your recompense is just this: the joy to serve the Lord and to do it together! Know him more and more with prayer, with days of retreat, with meditation on his Word, with the study of the Catechism, to love him more and more with a generous and big heart, with magnanimity. This beautiful Christian virtue, magnanimity, having a big heart, expanding your heart always, with patience, loving everyone – and not that pettiness that is harmful to us, but magnanimity; with it your witness will be more convincing and effective, and your service will be better and more joyful.
I entrust all of you to the maternal protection of Our Lady, and to the intercession of Sts. Peter and Paul. I pray also for your families, especially the sick, and for your children, who are growing. I saw many children here, it is beautiful, it is beautiful! Continue to pray for me. I give you all my blessing with affection. Thank you!
Now I will give you the blessing. Think of all those whom you love: your family, friends, so that the blessing pass to them. But also think of some of those people whom you do not love very much, people who hurt you, people with whom you are a little angry. Think of them to and that the blessing is also for them.