In March, Pope Francis met with about 70,000 members of the Communion and Liberation movement from 47 countries. St. Peter's Square was completely flooded with people, so Pope Francis opened half of Via della Conciliazione to greet those who were unable to enter.
Ten years after the founder Luigi Giussani's death, the organization's president asked the Pope to teach them how to maintain the charism of their movement.
JULIAN P. CARRÓN
President, Communion and Liberation
"We have come as beggars, with a desire to learn. We want you to help us to live with more fidelity and passion for the charism that we have received.”
Pope Francis delivered an important speech. He explained that the greatest way to serve the founder is not to repeat what he did, but rather do what he would have done.
"Luigi Giussani's legacy cannot be reduced to a museum of memories, decisions, rules of conduct. Certainly, one should be loyal to tradition. But fidelity to tradition, as Mahler said, means keeping the fire alive and not worshiping the ashes.”
In March, the Pope took advantage of a parish visit to stop by a center for the sick and elderly located near the church.
"Holy Father, the Lord has been generous to me. Very, very.”
The Pope greeted them all one by one, and left this message:
"The Lord never abandons us. When hard times come, a bit of nostalgia, sadness, the tears coming ... Let's do this with our hands. 'Lord, I know You're here.' He never abandons us. Perhaps you say, 'You are here but it is me who is having the ugly moment.' But He also has lived a hard time on the Cross. Do you remember? He was the first to break through.”
The Pope also celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Therese of Jesus. Devotees brought the cane with which the saint traveled through Spain to the Vatican. This is how the Pope reacted.
"This is what she used as an old lady?” he joked before kissing it at the end of the general audience.”
"We bring the cane of St. Teresa of Jesus.”
In addition, the Pope made an intense one-day visit to Naples. It began in Scampia, a neighborhood known for its connections to the local mafia. He also visited Camorra, an area characterized by corruption and unemployment.
"None of us can say 'No, I will not corrupt myself.' No! It is a temptation. It is a slippery slope from there: from easy business, to crime, to the exploitation of people. Corruption stinks and a corrupt society stinks. A Christian who lets corruption inside them is not Christian. That person stinks. Understand?”
Hours later, he delivered a strong message against the mafia while celebrating Mass in the center of Naples.
"To the criminals and all their accomplices today, I humbly repeat as your brother: Turn toward love and justice. Let God's mercy find you. I know that Jesus is looking to embrace you, to kiss, to love you even more so.”
Curiously enough, a group of nuns from seven cloistered covenants were allowed to exit their convent to meet with Pope Francis.
"Later, later, later, where are you all going? Later... But look. And these are the cloistered ones! Imagine if they were not! They're going to eat him. Sister ! Sister! Sister! We must continue. We can not waste time.”
The Pope had lunch at the Poggioreale prison with about 90 inmates who warmly welcomed him. They cooked themselves: pasta, chicken and sweets.
One of the most tender moments of the visit came on the boardwalk. About 100,000 young people gathered to meet with the Pope.
A 95-year-old woman named Erminia thanked the Pope for his attention to the elderly. Pope Francis jokingly congratulated her for being so old.
"I tell you one thing: If you are 95 years old, I am Napoleon. Congratulations on how you carry your years!” FLASH "You reap what you sow. To you, children, the fourth commandment. Do you love your parents? Do you hug them? Do you tell them you love them?”
He had some very special guest upon his return to Rome.
In March, the Vatican Museums closed their doors to serve about 150 people homeless. No one in the Sistine Chapel knew what was coming. Pope Francis personally greeted them all.
"The Pope walked in and when we saw him, applause broke out and there were even some tears.”
"It was beautiful, especially because I had never been there before. The fact that the Pope is welcoming us and those who are going through rough times, it's an honor.”
Pope Francis asked them to pray for him. They have no home, no money, no luxuries ... There was no shortage of prayers for the Pope who had let them into one of the most beautiful museums in the world.
JMB/ ZS / AZ