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Pope to Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay: ‘I Want to Bring You Tenderness, Caress of God’

Ahead of Trip to Latin America Next Week, Francis Sends Video Message 

Just one week before Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Latin America, July 5-13, he has expressed his affection and closeness to the people of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

In a video-message to the three South American nations he will visit during the trip, the Holy Father said, “I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to the children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture.”

In these days before our meeting, the Pope said, “I give thanks to God for you, and I ask that you be steadfast in the faith, that you may have the fire of love, of charity and that you hold fast to the hope that never disappoints.”

Reflecting on the how the Catholic faith is not only a source of solidarity among people, the Pope also reminded Latin American faithful how it builds peace and fosters harmony.

The Pope also exhorted them to unite their prayers with his “so that the announcement of the Gospel can reach to the farthest outskirts and continue to make the values of the Kingdom of God a leaven of the earth in our days as well.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying that the Blessed Virgin Mary take care of them, saying, “See you soon,” and requesting them to pray for him.

Below is the Vatican Radio-provided translation of the full text of the Pope’s video-message.

***

Dear brothers and sisters of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay,

There is little time before my trip. With this preliminary greeting, I would like to express my closeness, my sympathy and my good will. My wish is to be with you, to share your concerns, to express my affections and closeness, as well as rejoice with you too.

I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture. The love of the merciful Father allows us beyond measure to discover the face of his Son Jesus in each brother, in each sister of ours, in the neighbor. One only needs to come close, to be a neighbor. As Jesus said to that young doctor of the law when he asked: Who is my neighbor?  Go and do what the Good Samaritan did, go and do the same, be close, do not pass by.

In this trip I will visit three sister nations in the lands of the American continent. The faith that we all share is a source of brotherhood and solidarity, it builds villages, it forms family of families, it fosters harmony and encourages the desire and commitment to peace.

In these days before our meeting, I give thanks to God for you, and I ask that you be steadfast in the faith, that you may have the fire of love, of charity and that you hold fast to the hope that never disappoints. I urge you to unite your prayers to mine so that the announcement of the Gospel can reach to the farthest outskirts and continue to make the values of the Kingdom of God a leaven of the earth in our days as well.

May the Blessed Virgin take care of you, as Mother of America and may the Lord bless you. Thank you, see you soon and please, do not forget to pray for me.

[Original Text: Spanish] [Translation by Vatican Radio]

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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