At 10:30 this morning, the Holy Father Francis went on a visit to Rome’s Campidoglio, the Capitol. On his arrival, Mayor Virginia Raggi welcomed him in the Sixtus IV area, amid the fanfare of the faithful of Vitorchiano.
After arriving on the first floor of the Senatorial Palace, the Pope met briefly with the Mayor’s relatives in the Clock Hall. Then he entered the Mayor’s office and appeared on the balcony, which overlooks the Roman Forums. The Holy Father then talked privately with the Mayor and, at the end, they went together to the Arazzo Hall, where the Vice-Mayor, the Presidents of the Counsellor Groups and Capitol Directors were gathered, to whom Pope Francis gave a copy of the book “Rethink the Future of Relations” with discourses on Europe. The Holy Father then greeted the Capitoline Advisers and the Presidents of Municipalities in the Hall of Flags and signed the Capitoline Golden Book.
Subsequently, the Pope and the Mayor entered the Julius Caesar Hall. Here, introduced by Mayor Virginia Raggi’s greeting address, the Holy Father delivered his address to the Municipal Administrators.
At the end, in thanking the Pope, the Mayor announced the institution of a scholarship and the dedication of the Hall of the Small Protomoteca to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’. Then the exchange of gifts took place. In memory of his visit, the Holy Father gave a mosaic that reproduces the Colosseum and the Pontificate’s medal.
At 12:15 pm, Pope Francis and Mayor Virginia Raggi appeared on the Loggia of the Senatorial Palace. The Holy Father then greeted the citizens gathered in the Capitol’s Square.
At the end, the Pope greeted a representation of the Dependents of the Municipality together with their Families, in the Hall of the Protomoteca. At 12:30 pm, after reaching the Portico del Vignola, the Pope took leave of the Mayor and returned by car to the Vatican.
Here is a translation of the Holy Father Francis’ address to the Capitoline Administrators and his greetings to the Roman citizens and to a representation of Dependents.
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The Holy Father’s Address to the Capitoline Administration
Gentlemen and Ladies Advisers and Counselors of the Municipality of Rome,
Distinguished Authorities, Dear Friends!
I thank the Lady Mayor for her gracious invitation and for the kind expressions she addressed to me. My cordial greeting is extended to the Advisers, the Counselors of the Municipality, to the Representatives of the Government, to the other Authorities present and to all the Roman citizenry.
For a long time, I have wanted to come to the Capitol to meet with you and bring you in person my gratitude for the collaboration, by the city’s Authorities and those of the Holy See, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, as well as for the celebration of other ecclesial events. These, in fact, by their orderly unfolding and their good outcome are in need of your availability and qualified work, administrators of this City, witness of a history stretching back centuries and that, welcoming Christianity, became in the course of centuries the center of Catholicism.
Rome is the homeland of an original concept of law, modeled on the wise practice of its people and through which it has irradiated the world with its principles and its institutions. It’s the city that recognized the value and beauty of philosophy, of art and, in general, of the culture produced by the ancient Hellas, which it received and integrated to the point that the civilization that sprang from it was rightly defined Greco-Roman. At the same time, by a coincidence that it’s difficult not to call by design, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul crowned their mission here with martyrdom, and their blood, united to that of so many other witnesses, was transformed into seeds of new generations of Christians. They contributed to give a new face to the City, that, even in the tangle of alternate historical vicissitudes, with their dramas, lights and shadows, still shines today because of the richness of the monuments, of the works of art, of the churches and palaces, all set in an inimitable way on seven hills, of which this is the first.
In its almost 2,800 years of history, Rome has been able to welcome and integrate different social and economic categories, without annulling the legitimate differences, without humiliating or crushing their respective peculiar characteristics and identity. Rather, it has given each one of them that fertile ground, that humus appropriate to have the best of each one emerges, and to give form — in mutual dialogue — to new identities.
This City has welcomed students and pilgrims, tourists, refugees and migrants from every region of Italy and from many countries of the world. It has become pole and pivot of attraction. Pivot between the continental north and the Mediterranean world, between the Latin civilization and the Germanic, between the prerogatives and the powers reserved to the civil powers and those proper to the spiritual power. It can even be affirmed that, thanks to the force of the evangelical words, that provident distinction was inaugurated here, in mutual and collaborative respect for the good of all, between the civil and religious authority, which is conformed better to the dignity of the human person and offers it areas of freedom and participation.
Therefore, Rome became the goal and symbol for all those that, recognizing it as capital of Italy and center of Catholicism, have set out towards it to admire the monuments and the traces of the past, to venerate the memories of the Martyrs, to celebrate the main feasts of the Liturgical Year and the great jubilee pilgrimages, but also to offer their work at the service of the Institutions of the Italian Nation or of the Holy See.
Hence, in a certain sense Rome obliges the temporal and spiritual power to dialogue constantly, to collaborate stably in mutual respect; and it requires also to be creative, both in the daily weaving of good relations, as well as in addressing numerous problems, which the management of such an immense inheritance brings necessarily with it. The “Eternal City” is like an enormous coffer of spiritual, historical-artistic and institutional treasures and, at the same time, it is the place inhabited by close to three million people that work, study, pray, encounter one another and carry forward their personal and family history, and that are in their ensemble the honour and effort of every administrator, of anyone who commits him/herself for the common good of the city.
It is a delicate organism, which needs humble and assiduous care and creative courage to keep itself orderly and liveable, so that so much splendour isn’t degraded, but to the cumulus of past glories the contribution can be added of the new generations, their specific genius, their initiatives and their good projects.
The Capitol, together with Michelangelo’s Cupola and the Colosseum, — which can be seen from here — are in a certain sense its emblems and synthesis. In fact, the whole of these vestiges tells us that Rome has a universal vocation, is bearer of a mission and of an ideal suitable to cross over mountains and seas and to be narrated to all, close and far, to whatever people they belong, to whatever language they speak and to whatever colour their skin is. As See of the Successor of Peter, it is a point of spiritual reference for the entire Catholic world. Well explained, therefore, is that the Agreement of Revision of the Concordat between Italy and the Holy See — of which this year is the 235th anniversary is observed — affirms that “the Italian Republic recognizes the particular significance that Rome, bishopric of the Supreme Pontiff, has for Catholicism: (Article 2, paragraph 4).
This peculiar historical, cultural and institutional identity of Rome postulates that the Capitoline Administration is made able to govern this complex reality with appropriate normative instruments and a congruent equipment of resources.
Even more decisive, however, is that Rome is kept at the height of its tasks and its history, that even in today’s changeable circumstances it be able to be beacon of civilization and teacher of hospitality, that it not lose the wisdom that is manifested in its capacity to integrate and make each one feel fully participant in a common destiny.
The Church that is at Rome wishes to help Romans to rediscover the meaning of belonging to such a peculiar community and, thanks to the network of her parishes, schools and charitable institutions, as well as to the ample and praiseworthy commitment of voluntary work, collaborates with the civil powers and with all the citizenry to maintain this city’s most noble face, its sentiments of Christian love and its civic sense.
Rome calls for and merits the effective, wise <and> generous collaboration of all; it merits that both private citizens as well as the social forces and public institutions, the Catholic Church and the other religious Communities, all put themselves at the service of the good of the city and of the people that dwell in it, especially those that for whatever reason find themselves on the margins, almost discarded and forgotten, or who experience the suffering of sickness, of abandonment and of loneliness.
Forty-five years have passed from that Congress that had as its title: “The Responsibilities of Christians in Face of the Expectations of Charity and Justice in the Diocese of Rome,” better known as the Congress “on the evils of Rome.” It committed itself to translate into practice the pointers of Vatican Council II and agreed to address, with greater awareness, the real conditions of the urban peripheries, where masses of immigrants have arrived from so many countries, of numerous migrants fleeing from wars and misery, who seek to rebuild their existence in conditions of security and a fitting life. Rome, hospitable city, is called to address this epochal challenge in the wake of its noble history; to use its energies to the utmost to welcome and integrate, to transform tensions and problems into opportunities of encounter and growth. May Rome, fertilized by the blood of the Martyrs, be able to draw from its culture, molded by faith in Christ, the resources of creativity and of charity necessary to overcome the fears that risk blocking possible initiatives and courses. These could make the city flourish, unite all in brotherhood and create occasions of development, both civic and cultural, as well as economic and social.
May goodness and charity not be feared! They are creative and generate a peaceful society, capable of multiplying the strengths, of addressing problems seriously and with less anxiety, with greater dignity and respect for each one and to open to new occasions of development.
The Holy See wishes to collaborate increasingly and better for the good of the City, at the service of all, especially of the poorest and most disadvantaged, for the culture of encounter and for an integral ecology. It encourages all its institutions and structures, as well as all the people and the communities that form reference to it, to commit themselves actively to witness the efficacy and attraction of a faith that makes itself work, initiative, and creativity at the service of the good.
Therefore, I formulate best wishes that all may feel fully involved to attain this objective, to confirm with clarity ideas and strength in daily witness of the best traditions of Rome and its mission, and so that this fosters a moral and spiritual rebirth of the City.
Lady Mayor, dear friends, at the end of my intervention. I wish to entrust to the protection of Mary, Salus Populi Romani and of the Holy Patrons Peter and Paul each one of you, your work and the good resolutions that animate you. May you be in agreement at the service of this beloved City, in which the Lord has called me to carry out <my> episcopal ministry. I invoke upon each of you from my heart an abundance of divine blessings and I assure all of my remembrance in prayer. Thank you for your hospitality![Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Greeting to the Capitoline Dependents with Their Families:
At the conclusion of my visit to the Capitol, I’m happy to greet you who are, in a certain sense, the structure of the municipal organization. I thank you for your welcome and I’m grateful for all that you did to prepare this day. The greater part of the work you do is not of the sort that makes news. Behind the scenes, your daily commitment make possible the ordinary activity of the Municipality in favour of the citizens and of the many visitors that come every day to Rome. With your work, you make an effort to meet the legitimate needs of Roman families, which depend in many aspects on your solicitude: be aware of such great responsibility! You are workers in the field, functionaries, employed in various offices and in many departments of the public administration, cleaners, maintenance and security personnel. Thank you for all that you do!
Your silent and faithful work contributes not only to the improvement of the City, but also has great significance for you personally, because the way we work expresses our dignity and the type of person we are.
I encourage you to continue your activity with generosity and trust, at the service of the City of Rome, of its inhabitants, of the tourists and of the pilgrims. I will pray for you and for your families, and I ask each one of you, please, to remember to pray for me. May God bless you all.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s working translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Greeting to the People of Rome
Dear Romans, good morning!
As your Bishop I usually meet you at Saint Peter’s, at Saint John’s, or in the parishes . . . Today it’s given to me to address and greet you from the Capitol, cradle of this City and beating heart of its administrative and civil life. Thank you for your presence and thank you for the affection you have for the Successor of Peter!
The Church that is at Rome, in keeping with the known expression of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, “presides in charity” (Letter to the Romans, Proemio). Therefore, it is the task of its Bishop, the Pope, but also of all Christians of Rome, to work concretely to keep the face of this Church always luminous, reflecting the light of Christ, which renews hearts. Those that don’t share our faith also find a place in the Pope’s heart: my spiritual closeness is for all, and my encouragement to be every day “craftsmen” of fraternity and solidarity. As so many people throughout the world, you also, citizens of Rome, are concerned about the wellbeing and education of your children; you have at heart the future of the planet, and the type of world we’ll leave to the future generations. However, today, and every day, I would like to ask each one of you, in keeping with his/her capacities, to take care of one another, to be close to one another, to respect each other. Thus, you embody in yourselves the most beautiful values of this City: a united community, which lives in harmony, which acts not only for justice, but in a spirit of justice.
Thank you again for this meeting! I ask the Lord to fill you with His graces and His blessings. And I ask you, please, to pray for me.
Thank you and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s working translation by Virginia M. Forrester]