On the occasion of the Argentine shrine’s anniversary, Pope Francis has thanked the faithful of Buenos Aires for their devotion to the place of worship which is particularly dear to him.
The Holy Father made the comments today in a message to those who will meet in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Mataderos to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the shrine of St. Pantaleon.
In the message, he points out that although the shrine is “a temple that seems still,” it doesn’t remain stationary because “the people of God carry forward.” In this way, he added, “it has moved ahead for fifty years in the hearts of the many faithful who have come to venerate the saint, to implore for health, and to profess their faith. In this way it has moved into the heart of the area, projecting itself onto the whole city.”
The Pope recalled with nostalgia the times he, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, personally visited the parish dedicated to the doctor saint of Nicomedia.
The Argentine Pontiff said he wanted “to be close to you,” to be able to “relive” in some way the occasions in which he was able to visit the shrine. He said he would like to have been able to help the priests in confession on July 27th.
He recalled returning home “spiritually strengthened by this witness of faith.”
“The good I received is unimaginable,” he said. “And I wish to give thanks for all this good. May the Lord reward you plentifully.”
The Holy Father asked “the Lord to grant you the grace to continue on your path, to continue this pilgrimage of the heart in the midst of this great city.”
The Pope concluded by assuring the faithful of his closeness in prayer and asked them to pray for him. “In these days of celebration … I am close to you. … May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.” (D.C.L.)