The General Audience of this morning, was initially scheduled in St. Peter’s Square, but due to the cold climate, it took place at 9.40 am in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall where the Holy Father Francis met groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from every part of the world. The faithful and the pilgrims who could not find a place in the Paul VI Hall followed the audience, from the Basilica, where the Pope went, at the end of the Audience, to greet those present. Here is a Zenit translation of what he said to those gathered there:
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I’m happy to receive you in this Basilica, and to express to each one of you my warm welcome.
May the Lenten path we are following be a favorable occasion for a determined effort of conversion and of spiritual renewal, for a reawakening to genuine faith, for a salutary recovery of the relationship with God and for a more generous evangelical commitment. In the awareness that love is the style of life that distinguishes the believer, don’t tire of being witnesses of charity everywhere.
Mary is next to us, the woman of hope that, with her maternal tenderness supports us and guides us to Easter. With her help we will be able to celebrate, interiorly renewed, the great Paschal Mystery, key event of salvation and supreme revelation of the merciful love of God.
We conclude our meeting reciting the prayer of the Our Father.
(The Blessing follows)
The Lord be with you, and with your spirit.
May the Name of the Lord be blessed, now and always.
Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made Heaven and earth.
May Almighty God bless you, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.[Zenit Translation]