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Pope Francis during the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter's Square


Pope: Mother Church Does Not Exclude Even the Biggest Sinner

During Regina Coeli, Francis Also Says Blessed Archbishop Romero Inspires Us to Witness Gospel With Courage

During Pope Francis’ Regina Coeli address, Francis drew the world’s attention to the ‘zealous pastor’ and martyr, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was beatified yesterday in El Salvador.

After celebrating Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica, at noon Pope Francis greeted the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, reminding them of how two religious are getting closer to sainthood.

“In El Salvador and Kenya, an archbishop and a nun were beatified,” the Pope said, noting the first was Archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Romero, killed in odium fide (‘Latin for ‘hatred of the faith’), while he was celebrating the Eucharist. “This zealous pastor, following the example of Jesus, chose to be among his people, especially the poor and the oppressed, even when it cost him his life,” Francis said. 

The Argentine Pontiff also remembered, Italian Sister Irene Stefani of the Consolata Missionaries who served the Kenyan people, “with joy, mercy and tender compassion.”

“The heroic example of these blesseds,” the Pope said, “inspires in each of us to have the fervent desire to witness to the Gospel with courage and self-sacrifice.”

The Pope also launched an appeal for the migrants in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea in Southeast Asia. Since May 10th, more than 3,600 people have come ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and thousands more are reported to be trapped at sea.

After expressing his appreciation for the efforts being made by those countries that have expressed a willingness to welcome those people who face suffering, the Pontiff launched an appeal: “I encourage the international community to provide them with the necessary humanitarian assistance.”

Church as Mother

In his address, the Pontiff stressed how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, enabling them to escape their fear and start their mission.

The gift of the Spirit, the Pontiff noted, restores harmony of languages and gives birth to the universal Church which “embraces the whole world, without exception.”
“To no one does the Mother Church close the door in the face, to no one! Not even to the most sinful, to no one! And this is out of the strength, the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Mother Church opens, opens its doors to everyone because it is Mother.”
“On Pentecost,” he continued, “the Holy Spirit is poured out continuously,” so that “we go out of our mediocrity and our closing off of ourselves and communicate to the world the merciful love of the Lord.” 

“This is our mission!” he said. “We too are given the gift of the ‘language’ of the Gospel and the ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit, in order for us to proclaim the risen Jesus, alive and present in our midst, and warm the hearts of people, bringing them closer to Him, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

The Holy Father concluded, wishing everyone a good Pentecost Sunday, lunch, and reminding them to pray for him.


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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': or

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