Pope’s Address to Filipino Community in St. Peter’s Basilica

“At This Time of Grief, May This Strength be the Most Useful Prayer: The Prayer of ‘Why'”

Yesterday in St. Peter’s basilica, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Pope Francis met with the Filipino community in Rome, on the occasion of the blessing of the mosaic depicting Saint Peter Calungsod (1654 ca – 1672), martyred Catholic Filipino catechist proclaimed Saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.

The ceremony of the blessing of the image of the Filipino martyr was followed by a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

Translated below are the words that the Holy Father addressed to those present in the course of the ceremony of blessing of the image of Saint Peter Calungsod. Pope Francis referred to the typhoon that in the past weeks struck some Islands of the Philippines, causing thousands of victims and enormous damages.

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I thank my brother, Cardinal Tagle, for his words full of faith, full of grief, full of hope. In these days, I have also been very close to your people. And I heard that the trial was strong, too strong! But I also heard that the people were strong! What the Cardinal said is true: faith comes above the ruins, the solidarity of all at the moment of trial. Why do these things happen? It cannot be explained. There are so many things that we cannot understand. When children begin to grow they do not understand things and begin to ask questions to their father or mother: “Daddy, why? Why? Why?” Psychologists call it the ‘age of the why,’ the age of ‘whys.’ Because the child does not understand … However, if we are attentive, we will see that the child does not wait for the answer of his father or his mother: another why and another why … The child has a need in that insecurity, that his father and mother look at him. He has need of the eyes of his parents; he has need of the heart of his parents. At this time of so much suffering, do not tire of saying: “Why?” as the children … And in this way you will attract our Father’s eyes on your people; you will attract the tenderness of the Father of Heaven upon you, as the child does when he asks: “Why? Why?” At this time of grief, may this strength be the most useful prayer: the prayer of “why?”, but without asking for explanations, only asking that our Father look at us. I also accompany you with this prayer of “why?”