Pope Francis arrived by helicopter to Florence, and he touched down in this stadium, which was prepared just for the occasion. Afterward, he had the opportunity to visit the cathedral and admire one of his favorite paintings: Marc Chagall's "White Crucifixion.”
At the cathedral, Pope Francis spoke to Italian bishops who were meeting in Florence. He started by hearing moving testimonies. Among them were a divorced couple who remarried and a priest.
Father Bledar was born into atheist family in Albania and came to Italy in a raft with fake documents. He lived on the streets until a local parish priest helped him.
"He found nothing for me but told me, 'Jesus has called me to open the door, so come and stay in my house.' I lived in his home as a son. Not for one day or a month but instead for almost nine years.”
Afterward, the Pope delivered a lengthy speech in which he asked Christians to be guided by humility, selflessness, and the Beatitudes.
"These characteristics tells us we should not be obsessed with power. Not even when it seems that power is useful and helpful for the social image of the Church.”
The Pope added that he prefers a "rough and stained” Church that goes out to the people over a Church that is "closed for its own comfort.”
"Christian doctrine is not a closed system that's incapable of generating questions, doubts, or interrogations. It is alive. It moves. It animates. Its face is not rigid. It has a body that moves and develops, it's soft: It's called Jesus Christ. Christian doctrine is called Jesus Christ.”
To that end, he told bishops that contact with people is key. If they don't keep in touch with others, they will lose their humanity and the Church won't move forward. He asked them one thing.
"To the pastors I ask that they be pastors. Nothing more than pastors. I am a pastor. That should be your joy. The people, your sheep, should support you.”
Pope Francis also invited them to not be afraid of dialogue and to remember that Jesus did not sacrifice Himself for just a few chosen people but instead for all of humanity.