(Vatican Radio) In a video message to the people of Argentina, Pope Francis spoke of his regret at not being able to visit his homeland this year or in 2017, saying he already has planned trips to Asia and Africa next year.
Watch the Pope's video message:
The Pope assured his compatriots that he continues to be an Argentinian who feels close to his people and revealed that he "still travels with an Argentine passport." In the message which he described as a monologue but wished it were a chat, Pope Francis urged the people of Argentina to help promote "a culture of encounter" in which people can live “with dignity and express themselves peacefully without being insulted, condemned, attacked or cast to one side.”
Noting that this year there were two important events for the Church in Argentina, the beatification in August of Mama Antula (an 18th century Catholic laywoman) and the canonization in October of Cura Brochero (the 19th century Gaucho priest), the Pope said he very much wished he could have attended these two events but it was not possible. He said it was his love for his native Argentina that was prompting him to ask his fellow countrymen to place their nation on their shoulders – a nation that needs each of us to give of our best “to improve, grow and mature.” Only in this way, he went on, can we achieve “a culture of encounter” that is able to overcome “the throw-away culture” which is so prevalent in today’s world.
In additional to Argentina’s many natural riches, Pope Francis reminded his listeners that the nation’s greatest treasure was its people and urged them to walk alongside those who need assistance and help those who fall sick to recover.
The Pope concluded his message by saying like a school teacher of old he was giving his compatriots some homework during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. He then went on to list 7 works each of corporal and spiritual mercy and encouraged his listeners to try to perform these good deeds every day or every other day.
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