(Vatican Radio) On Monday, Pope Francis received members of the "Pro Petri Sede" Association from the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which annually offers economic assistance for the needs of the Holy See.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
In his address, the Holy Father said “The growing number of people who are marginalized or who live in great insecurity challenges us and demands a burst of solidarity to give them the material and spiritual support they need.” At the same time, he said, “we have much to receive from the poor whom we approach and whom we help.” The poor “are often witnesses of what is essential, of family values; they are able to share with those who are even poorer than they, and they know how to rejoice,” the Pope said, remarking that he had seen this himself in his recent Apostolic Voyage to Asia.
Pope Francis thanked the members of the Association for their generous donation to assist the poor, and called on them to pray earnestly for peace.
Below, please find the English translation of Pope Francis’ remarks, which were delivered in Italian:
With joy I welcome you, members of the Association “Pro Petri Sede”, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles, by which you nourish your faith and manifest your fidelity to the Successor of Peter.
I express my gratitude for your commitment to the service of the poor. The growing number of people who are marginalized or who live in great insecurity challenges us and demands a burst of solidarity to give them the material and spiritual support they need. And at the same time we have much to receive from the poor whom we approach and whom we help. Struggling with their difficulties, they are often witnesses of what is essential, of family values; they are able to share with those who are even poorer than they, and they know to rejoice, as I was able to note in my recent Apostolic Voyage to Asia. Indifference and selfishness are always lurking. Care for the poor enriches us, placing us on the path of humility and of truth. Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “What do you possess that you have not received?” (1 Cor 4:7). Their presence is a reminder of our common humanity, of the fragility of life, of the dependence on God and on our brothers and sisters. I invite you, therefore, especially on the occasion of Lent, which is about to begin, to ask the Lord to give you a merciful and poor heart, [a heart] that recognises its poverty and that spends itself for others (cf. Message for Lent 2015).
With the precious gift you give today to the Successor of Peter, you come in aid of populations sorely tried in different parts of the world. With this solidarity you offer them also the spiritual comfort of not feeling forgotten in their trials, and of preserving hope. I warmly thank you on their behalf. I invite you to pray earnestly for peace, so that political leaders might find paths of dialogue and of peace.
Dear friends, I hope that your pilgrimage will increase in each of you the sense of belonging to the Church, which is a great family, and the joy of announcing the Gospel to all; that fraternity among yourselves might be so reinforced that you will be able to carry on your mission of service to the poor and the small, for whom Jesus has a special love. I entrust you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Saint Peter, and to the Saints of your countries, from the heart imparting the Apostolic Blessing upon you, your families, and all the members of your Association. And please, don’t forget to pray for me!
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