Here is a translation of a letter Francis wrote to Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, on the occasion of the Jubilee for the 200th anniversary of the conclusion of the construction of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Mexican capital. The anniversary will be observed Aug. 15, solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and patroness of the Cathedral.
* * *
To the Lord Cardinal
Norberto Rivera Carrera
Archbishop of Mexico
With your letter of the 4th of this month you were kind enough to point out to me that on the forthcoming day of August 15, solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the glory of Heaven, the celebrations will begin to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the conclusion of the building of the Cathedral of that Primate Archdiocese of Mexico.
In this significant circumstance, through your good offices, I wish to have my cordial greeting reach all those who rejoice over this event and the assurance that I will unite myself to all the pastors and faithful of that particular Church in thanksgiving to God for the gifts received. This commemoration is an occasion to look at the past, to strengthen the present and to glimpse the future.
We can draw lessons for our Christian life from the history of this church. How many persons will have visited it to encounter the Lord! Its stones are silent witnesses of the many that have entered it to open their heart to God, to ask for forgiveness, to pray for favors, to praise and bless Him for all the love He manifests to us every day. Let us gather the best of that spiritual heritage and continue lifting our hearts to Heaven in this house, which is God’s, and that of all those who form the great diocesan family.
But it’s not just about looking back. An opportunity such as this one must become a strong spiritual stimulus to assume joyfully the great task that every baptized person has today to be a disciple and missionary of Jesus Christ. In the Cathedral, heart of the diocese, the Bishop carries out the most venerated and holy action that can be realized: the Eucharist, memorial of the Death, Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord. Let us participate in it with devotion and draw from the table of the Lord the strength to give witness everywhere of the love that God has for us, in every environment where we find ourselves and with all those around us, especially the most underprivileged.
Let us also assume the challenge of looking to the future with hope. Let no one rob us of hope! Let us nourish it, instead, by coming to the first diocesan church. The Word of Life that resounds in the Primate Cathedral of Mexico must be prolonged in the future; it must be rooted in the heart of children, of adolescents and of young people. They are an open window to hope and enthusiasm. We must give them the best that we have: Christ, Savior and Friend who never fails. This is the responsibility, first of all, of fathers and mothers of families, who have in the Christian education of their children the greatest commitment, of which they cannot tire, and which they must carry out not only trusting in their energies but, above all, supported by prayer.
I entrust all these good desires to the maternal protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our Heavenly Mother. May she be for the whole Archdiocese of Mexico the compass and star that leads to Christ, fruit of her womb. May she guard with her protection and maintain faithful in the path of sanctity all the priests, men and women religious, seminarians and faithful of that Archdiocesan community.
Dear Brother, I ask you, please, to pray and have others pray for me in that Cathedral. I need it very much. With these sentiments, I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing, pledge of copious divine favors.
Francis[Translation by ZENIT]