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PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope's Address to Rail Workers

'The history of the Italian Railways attests also to the special attention given to the poorest, with several initiatives of solidarity, old and recent.'

Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis' address to dependents of the Italian railways in the Vatican on Saturday:

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, welcome!

I thank engineer Renato Mazzoncini for his words; I greet the President, Mrs. Ghezzi, and I greet you all. 

The Railways of the Italian State have surpassed by ten years a century of life, and this is, first of all, a reason to thank the Lord. However, it is also an occasion to thank the many persons that worked hard to realize the railway network in Italy: a territory that isn’t easy, which calls for much effort be it in the planning phase be it in the implementation. Not a few workers also lost their life in this work. We remember them all. And, in so far as it depends on us, we endeavor not to have this happen again. 

The history of the Italian Railways attests also to the special attention given to the poorest, with several initiatives of solidarity, old and recent. One of these are the Help Centers, present in tens of Italian cities and born of the collaboration between the Railways, the Local Entities and the Third Sector. They are “” which enable those in difficulty to be heard, helped and assisted. All of us are in need of these <antenna>, which enable us to understand what is happening around us, to be able to perceive the sufferings of others, without remaining insensitive. These <sportelli> are a means with which the railways desire to cooperate in keeping the country united not only from the geographic point of view, but also on the social plane, contributing to avoiding that some remain behind, and that the gap is accentuated between those who have and those who lack everything. 

Another important initiative is the Don Luigi Di Liegro Hostel at the Termini Station, where yesterday we opened the Door of Charity. The Railways renovated this structure, in collaboration with the diocesan Caritas. Five years ago Benedict XVI placed the first stone at the beginning of the works to make ready the new premises. The Hostel, which receives daily hundreds of guests, is also making available the service of daytime hospitality, it carries out an essential work in an area of the city where often people gather in search of shelter. May the Holy Year, which began a short while ago, teach us this first of all, and imprint in our mind and in our hearts that mercy is the first and truest medicine for man  — how many cures a merciful caress effects! —  medicine of which everyone is in urgent need. It flows continually and superabundantly from God, but we must also become capable of giving it to one another, so that each one can live in the fullness of his/her humanity. In fact, the Holy Doors call us to this, which were opened these days in all the dioceses of the world: one who crosses it with love will find forgiveness and consolation, and will be pushed to give and to give him/herself with more generosity, for his/her own salvation and that of brothers. Let us all allow ourselves to be transformed by the crossing of this spiritual door, so that it marks our life interiorly. Let us be involved in the Jubilee of Mercy – we are all in need of some mercy – in order to renew the fabric of our whole society, rendering it more just and solidaristic, especially in this “third world war, which has broken out “in fragments,” but which we are living. 

I learned that the last monograph, which has just been published in the series The Italy of the Train, is entitled “Jubilee”: a collection of photographs that depict the trips of Pontiffs in trains. May the esteem that unites us, of which today’s meeting is a sign, be able to be reinforced in this Holy Year, so that Italy and all the countries of the world become places of solidaristic networks, more authentically human, more capable of enjoying the love of God and communion with one another. I ask the Lord to bless you all. I give you my blessing and I ask it of the Lord for you. And I ask you not to forget to pray for me. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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