Before concluding the Mass that gave the Church 802 new saints, Pope Francis greeted the official delegations from their respective countries. The Holy Father’s address was followed by the recitation of the Regina Caeli.
Addressing the Italian delegation who were present for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto, the Pope invoked the newly canonized saints to help all Italians “to look to the future with hope, trusting the nearness of God, who never abandons us even in difficult moments.”
The 800 martyrs of Otranto were beheaded in the 15th century for refusing to convert to Islam after the Turkish invasion in Italy.
Invoking the intercession of Mother Laura Montoya of Colombia, the Holy Father expressed his hope for “a new missionary and evangelizing impulse to the Church.” Through her example, the Pope said, “may the beloved sons and daughters of Colombia continue to work for peace and the just development of their homeland.”
Pope Francis also cited the example of St. Guadalupe García Zavala as model of Christian love and charity for the Mexican people, placing under her intercession the poor, the sick and those who suffer in areas afflicted by violence.
The Holy Father also took the occasion to greet the participants of the March for Life which took place in Rome on Sunday morning, calling on the faithful to be attentive to the issue of respecting life from the moment of conception. The 76 year old Pontiff acknowledged the “One of Us” campaign which took place in all parishes in Rome. The campaign seeks to gather signatures in support of legislation within Europe to protect life.
“In this regard I would like also to mention the gathering of signatures that is taking place today in Italian parishes to support the “One of Us” initiative in Europe to guarantee legal protection of the embryo, protecting every human being from the first instant of his existence.”
Pope Francis concluded his address, inviting all to participate in “Evangelium Vitae’ Day, a Year of Faith event which will take place from June 15th-16th in Rome. The event, the Pope said, “ will be a special moment for those who take seriously the defense of the sacredness of human life.”