Pope Francis has sent a message to the Methodist and Waldensian (Valdese) churches on occasion of their 25-30 August Synod in Torre Pellice, Turin, Italy. The telegram was signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father.
The Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches is an Italian united church, founded in 1975 upon the union of the Waldensian Evangelical Church (a reformed church with pre-Lutheran roots) and the Italian Methodist Church. It has around 50,000 members including some 15,000 in Argentina and Uruguay.
The synod of the Methodist and Waldensian churches takes place annually during the last days of August in the Waldensian valleys in Torre Pellice in northern Italy. The meeting is composed of 180 members plus a number of advisers.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s message:
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Synod of the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches is a propitious occasion to address to you my cordial greeting, expression of my fraternal closeness and that of the whole Catholic Church.
I pray for you all, so that in these days of encounter, prayer and reflection, you will be able to have a living experience of the Holy Spirit, who animates and give force to Christian witness.
I also unite myself to your prayer to ask the Lord for the consolidation of the ecumenical spirit among Christians, as well as for a growing communion between our Churches.
We are called to continue our commitment in the way of mutual knowledge, understanding and collaboration, to witness Jesus and His Gospel of charity.
As Christ’s disciples we can offer common answers to the sufferings that afflict so many people, especially the poorest and weakest, thus promoting justice and peace.
I express to your Synodal Assembly best wishes and, while I invoke the Lord’s blessing, I ask you, please, to pray for me.
From the Vatican, August 22, 2019
Francis[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]