In a video message sent to the faithful of Argentina, Pope Francis sent his greetings as thousands gather to commemorate the feast of Saint Cajetan of Thiene, who is venerated in the Pope’s homeland as the patron saint of “Bread and of Work”.
According to a communique released by the Holy See, Argentinian Catholics line up in front of a statue of Saint Cajetan, where they kiss the glass encasing of the statue and make the sign of the cross. “The queue winds through 15 streets of the city and lasts the whole day,” the communique stated. “Waiting can be as long as 10 hours.”
During his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then Cardinal Bergoglio presided over the Mass and after, would walk in the inverse direction of the line to speak to the faithful and bless their children. The Holy Father’s video message will be broadcasted cyclically on Channel 21, Buenos Aires’ Catholic TV station as well as on large screens at the entrance to the Shrine for all to see.
Pope Francis began his message reminiscing past celebrations that he attended, saying that although he could not greet them on the queue, he would do so “with my heart”. Commenting on the theme of this year’s celebration, “With Jesus and Saint Cajetan, We Go to Meet Those in Most Need”, the Holy Father emphasized the need to share in the sufferings of the poor.
“It speaks of the meeting with people in greater need, those who need us to give them a hand, to look at them with affection, to share their pain and anxieties, their problems,” the Pope said. “However, what’s important is not to look at them from afar, or to help them from afar. No, No! It’s to go and meet with them. That is what a Christian is! That is what Jesus teaches us: to go and meet with those in most need as Jesus did, who always went out to meet people. He went to meet them. We must go out and meet the neediest.”
Build, Create, and Construct a Culture of Coming Together
The 76 year old Pontiff called on the faithful to follow Jesus’ teaching to help one another as well as to learn how to come together. “We need to build, to create, to construct a culture of coming together. So many disagreements, troubles in the family, always!” he exclaimed.
“Problems in the neighborhood, problems at work, problems everywhere. And disagreements don’t help. What we need is the culture of coming together, of going out to meet one another. And the [theme] says, to meet with the neediest, namely, with those who are in greater need than I am. To meet with those who are going through a bad time, worse than the one I’m going through. There is always someone who is having a worse time. Alas! There is always, always someone!”
Concluding his greeting, Pope Francis renewed his call for unity while inviting the faithful go out and look for those in most need, not to convince them to become Catholic but more importantly to meet them as a brother.
“And you are going to help him, the rest Jesus does, the Holy Spirit does it. Remember well: with Saint Cajetan, we the needy go to meet with those who are in greater need. And, hopefully, Jesus will direct your way so that you will meet with one in greater need.”