During this month of June, Pope Francis has reminded the faithful that this month we are invited to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
At the end of his General Audience this morning, the Holy Father urged the thousands gathered in a hot St. Peter’s Square to turn to Jesus’ heart, explaining that this devotion teaches the young to love intensely, the sick to be strong and to carry the cross of their suffering with patience, and the newly married to build their family on the foundations of the faithfulness and love of God.
The Argentine Pontiff gave special remarks to Polish pilgrims, this time reminding them that today, June 11, is the feast day of St. Barnabas, the apostle who along with St. Paul spread the Gospel among the pagans. Full of faith and zeal, Barnabas gave his life to Christ without reserve, suffering a martyr’s death, said Francis. He urged the crowds to “learn from him the fear of God and perseverance in faith. With courage, let us proclaim to the world the evangelical message.”
Addressing the Italian faithful, he greeted participants in the Congress on Ethics and Finance being held at Rome’s Patristic Institute “Augustinianum” educational institution, devoted to the study of patristic theology, and organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Pope, illuminating the link between the congress’ themes of ethics and finance, said “in effect, finance nowadays needs ethics.”
He also addressed the pilgrims of Castel San Giovanni, the hometown of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, secretary of state between 1979 and 1990, and commented, “He was a good man, this Casaroli.”
Workers at the Italian car manufacturer Fiat, from the southern Italian town of Pomigliano, were given special greetings by the Pope, after having donated a small blue car to him, identical to the one he used during his visit to Assisi in October 2013. The workers had reportedly said that it filled them with pride to see the Pope using the same car they use themselves to go to work or home.
Instead of giving his usual, post-audience wishes to the sick, the Holy Father had greeted them in Paul VI Hall previous to the audience address. They were invited to the Hall in an effort to protect them from the nearly 90 degree heat in the Square, meaning they were able to watch the audience from screens in an air-conditioned sanctuary.