Pope Francis sent an audio message to the Italian Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired this morning. The 75 members were at the Le Torre Center in Tirrenia, Italy for a summer program that specializes in rehabilitation studies and vacations.
In his message, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the group’s affection and prayers, while conveying his joy that “thanks to modern technology, I can come to you.”
“The Gospels tell us that Jesus had a particular care for the blind. Besides other sick persons, He healed many blind persons,” the Pope said.
“But the healing of a visually impaired person has special symbolic meaning: it represents the gift of faith. It is a sign that concerns us all because we all need the light of faith to walk along the path of life. This is why Baptism, which is the first Sacrament of Faith, was also called ‘illumination’ in antiquity.”
The Holy Father prayed that Christ would renew in the members of the association the gift of faith, so that their spirits “may alway have God’s light, the light of love that makes sense of our lives, illuminates it, gives us hope, and makes us good and available to our brothers and sisters.”
Concluding his message to them, Pope Francis urged the group to not only spread a culture of solidarity towards the disabled, but also encouraging them to take an active part in society.
“I entrust you all to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother. I ask you to pray for me and for my service to the Church and I wholeheartedly bless you, together with your loved ones,” the Pope said.