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Pope’s Message of Peace and Homage for 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings (Full Text)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Reads Message During Celebrations in Course in France

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings (June 6, 1944), Pope Francis paid homage to “all the soldiers that, coming from several countries, including France, had the courage to commit themselves and give their life for freedom and peace.”

In a message read by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in the course of the celebrations in France, the Pope encourages Christians, “with believers of other religions and men of good will, to promote a veritable universal fraternity, fostering a culture of encounter and dialogue, attentive to the little ones and the poor.”

Recalling in his message those that ”on the German side, fought in obedience to a regime animated by a deadly ideology,” the Pontiff expresses “the wish that this commemoration will enable all generations, in Europe and in the world, to reaffirm forcefully that peace is founded on respect for each person, regardless of his history, on respect of the law and of the common good, of the creation that was entrusted to us and the moral richness transmitted by past generations.”

The Canadian Cardinal presided over an ecumenical ceremony on June 6, 2019, in the presence of British Prime Minister Theresa May, in the Cathedral of Bayeux, the first French city liberated.

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Pope Francis’ Message

Monsignor Jean-Claude Boulanger

Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux

On the occasion of the celebrations organized for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, I assure you of my spiritual closeness and of my prayer, addressing a warm greeting to you, as well as to the Bishops, the representatives of the different Christian Confessions and of other religions, and all the persons that will take part in them.

We know that the landings on June 6, 1944, right here in Normandy, were decisive in the fight against the Nazi barbarity and enabled to open the way, at the end of this War, bruised Europe and the world so profoundly. Therefore, I remember with gratitude all the soldiers that, coming from several countries, including France, had the courage to commit themselves and to give their life for freedom and peace. I entrust them to the infinitely merciful love of the Lord, as well as the millions of victims of this War, not forgetting those that, on the German side, fought in obedience to a regime animated by a deadly ideology.

I express the wish that this commemoration will enable all generations, in Europe and in the world, to reaffirm forcefully that “peace is founded on respect for each person, regardless of his history, on respect of the law and of the common good, of the creation entrusted to us and of the moral richness transmitted by the past generations.” And I ask the Lord to help Christians of all Confessions, with believers of other religions and men of good will, to promote a veritable universal fraternity, fostering a culture of encounter and of dialogue, attentive to the little ones and the poor.

With this hope, I accord to you wholeheartedly the Apostolic Blessing, as well as to the Bishops present and to the faithful of your diocese, and I call for God’s blessing on all the participants in these celebrations.

Franciscus PP.

From the Vatican, May 31, 2019

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