2013-05-27 16:03:07

Pope urges prayers for conversion of Mafia

27 May, 2013 – Pope Francis spoke out on Sunday against mafia organizations exploiting and enslaving people, calling on mafiosi to repent. The Pope’s appeal came after his weekly midday “Angelus” prayer with a vast crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Back from a morning Mass in a parish on the outskirts of Rome, the Pope recalled Saturday’s beatification in Palermo of Giuseppe Puglisi, the Italian priest and martyr, who was assassinated by the Mafia in 1993. The Holy Father said, “Fr Puglisi was an exemplary priest, devoted especially to the youth ministry.” Educating kids according to the Gospel he salvaged them from the criminal underworld, which is why the Mafia tried to defeat him by killing him. “Yet,” the Pope said, “it was he who won with the Risen Christ." Pope Francis recalled the many sorrows of the men and women and even children exploited by many mafiosi, who exploit them making them do jobs that enslave them, such as prostitution, that have great social pressures. The Mafias are behind these forms of exploitation and slavery, the Holy Father said. He thus urged all to pray to the Lord for the conversion of Mafia men and women. A similar call to conversion was made by Pope John Paul II in Sicily in 1993, when he angrily called on mafiosi to repent or face the judgment of God. Hardly four months later, Fr. Puglisi was killed. Before the ‘Angelus’, the Pope shared a reflection on the Holy Trinity saying God is not something vague. Our God is concrete, not abstract, and has a name – “God is love.” This love, he explained, is not something sentimental or emotional, but the life of the Father who is at the origin of every life, the love of the Son who died on the cross and rose again, the love of the Spirit that renews man and the world. The Holy Trinity, the Pope continued, "is not the product of human reasoning.” “It is the face with which God revealed himself, not ex-cathedra, but by walking with humanity, in the history of the people of Israel, and above all in Jesus of Nazareth. It is Jesus who has saved us. Jesus is the Son who made us know the merciful Father and brought to the world his 'fire', the Holy Spirit, who guides us, who gives us good ideas, inspirations."

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