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Pope Francis travels to Verona to speak about peace

Pope Francis has traveled to Verona, where he delivered several speeches in which he spoke about peace.

Paloma López Campos-May 18, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope Francis

Pope Francis before the Pentecost Mass in Verona (CNS photo / Lola Gomez)

Pope Francis has traveled to Verona to hold several meetings in the Italian city. During his brief visit, which lasted about ten hours, he gave several speeches, focusing on peace.

In a first meeting with priests and consecratedThe Pontiff delved into two aspects, the call and the mission. Regarding the call, Francis emphasized that "at the origin of the Christian life is the experience of the encounter with the Lord, which does not depend on our merits or our commitment, but on the love with which He comes to seek us".

It is important, the Pope pointed out, to note that "at the origin of consecrated life and priestly life is not ourselves, our gifts or some special merit, but the Lord's surprising call, his merciful gaze that has bent over us and chosen us".

Call and mission

For this reason, the Holy Father said that the call of the Lord "is pure grace, pure gratuity, an unexpected gift that opens our hearts to astonishment before the condescension of God". In the face of this call, he insisted, we must maintain an attitude of surprise, for this is "the first foundation: to welcome the call we have received, to welcome the gift with which God has surprised us. If we lose this awareness and this memory, we run the risk of putting ourselves at the center instead of the Lord.

The Pope then assured that "if we remember this, that He has chosen me, even when we feel the weight of weariness and disappointment, we remain serene and confident, certain that He will not leave us empty-handed".

After the call comes the mission, as the Pontiff explained. A mission that the Pope encourages to be bold and creative, that knows how to "read the signs of the times and respond to the needs".

Pope addresses priests and young people

One of these needs is forgiveness, Francis said. In this line, he advised priests "to forgive everything" and to avoid making the sacrament of Penance "a torture session." "The Church needs forgiveness," the Holy Father has affirmed. "We must bring the caress of God's mercy especially to those who thirst for hope, to those who are forced to live on the margins, wounded by life or by some mistake committed, or by the injustices of society."

Pope Francis concluded his address to priests and consecrated men and women by thanking them for their generous dedication and encouraging them to be courageous in bringing God's love to the whole world and to live "a capable holiness".

Later, in a meeting with children and young people during which those present addressed several questions to the Holy Father, Francis asked the little ones to be "signs of peace" in the world, in their daily lives, and advised them not to be afraid "to go against the current" to do good.

Pope Francis calls for peace

The Pope then presided over the meeting "Arena of Peace. Justice and Peace will kiss". There he also answered several questions from the audience. In his answers, the Pontiff insisted on the importance of knowing how to create a community, avoiding individualism, because "no one exists without others, no one can do everything alone".

In the same vein, Francis affirmed that "we must invest in young people, in their education, to convey the message that the path to the future cannot pass only through the efforts of an individual, however well-intentioned and prepared he may be, but that it passes through the action of a people, in which each one plays his role, each one according to his tasks and according to his abilities".

The Pontiff also wanted to point out the culture of indifference and asked those present to fight against it. "We are masters at washing our hands," Francis said forcefully. To change this, the Pope advised to "walk with the little ones of the world", with children, with the elderly, with the weak, to listen to their pain and share it.

On the other hand, the Bishop of Rome explained that "peace must be cultivated, and today in the world there is this grave sin: not taking care of peace! The world is running, it is necessary at times to know how to slow down the race and not let ourselves be overwhelmed by activities and leave space in us to the action of God, to the action of our brothers, to the action of society that seeks the common good".

The Holy Spirit, creator of peace

The Pope concluded his speeches at this meeting by focusing on women, who are necessary "to find peace. Moreover, to stimulate the effort to achieve harmony, he said that "peace is made with the feet, hands and eyes of the peoples involved, all together".

The Pontiff's visit to Verona ended with the celebration of Pentecost. During the Mass, the Pope pointed out the importance of the Holy Spirit as the protagonist of our lives. "The Spirit is, above all, the one who changes our lives," Francis said.

He is the one who "gives us the courage to live a Christian life," he said. He is "the one who saves us from the danger of making us all equal" and, at the same time, generates "harmony" in the Church.

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