After the address of tribute by the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the Pope gave the address to those present which we translate below.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The Year of Faith, which ended yesterday, was a providential occasion for believers to rekindle the flame of faith, that flame which was entrusted to us on the day of our Baptism, so that it would be guarded and shared by us. During this Year, a special Year, you often gave with generosity part of your time and your capacities, especially at the service of spiritual endeavors proposed in various groups of faithful with appropriate pastoral initiatives. I thank you in the name of the Church and, together, we thank the Lord for all the good that he gives us to carry out.
In this time of grace we were able to rediscover the essential of the Christian journey, in which faith, together with charity, occupies the first place. Faith, in fact, is the foundation of Christian hope, because it motivates the choices and actions of our daily life. It is the inexhaustible vein of all our action, in the family, at work, in the parish, with friends, in the different social environments. And this firm and genuine faith is seen especially in moments of difficulty and trial: then the Christian lets himself be taken in God’s arms, and clasps Him, with the certainty of entrusting himself to a strong love as an indestructible rock. In fact, if we abandon ourselves to God with humility in situations of suffering, we can give good witness.
Dear friends, your precious voluntary service for the different events of the Year of Faith, has given you the opportunity to pick up better than others the enthusiasm of the different categories of people involved. At the same time we should truly praise the Lord for the spiritual intensity and the apostolic ardor awakened by so many pastoral initiatives promoted in these months at Rome and in every part of the world. We are witnesses that faith in Christ is capable of warming hearts, becoming really the moving force of the New Evangelization. It is this faith that renders our communities missionary! And, in fact, there is need of Christian communities committed to a courageous apostolate that reaches people in their environments, also in those that are most difficult.
This experience, which you matured in the Year of Faith, helps you first of all to open yourselves and your communities to an encounter with others. This is important, I would say essential! Above all, to open oneself to those who are poorer in faith and hope in their life. We talk so much about poverty, but we do not always think of those who are poor in faith: there are so many. There are so many people that are in need of a human gesture, of a smile, of a true word, of witness through which they can appreciate the closeness of Jesus Christ. May this sign of love and tenderness that is born of faith not be lacking in anyone.
I thank you and I invoke upon you and your families the Lord’s blessing.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]