In the last year, seven cardinals and 136 bishops and archbishops passed away. During the Mass celebrated in their honor today at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis praised the example they set with their lives, their fidelity, and their faith in difficult times.
"Their words have comforted and dried tears, their presence has given eloquent testimony that the goodness of God is inexhaustible and his mercy infinite. Some have been called to be witnesses of the Gospel in a heroic way, withstanding great tribulations.”
The pope said the key to a full Christian life is having "faith in the love of Christ,” which, according to Pope Francis, is what keeps people going, and a trait that the deceased bishops and cardinals were endowed with.
"Tribulations, anguish, persecution, death, life. Nothing stood in their way... They were very aware of the words of the Book of Wisdom: 'Those who are faithful will live with Him in love.'”
It is a tradition in the Vatican that the pope celebrates Mass for the bishops and cardinals that passed away in the last year. The ceremony always takes place in November, the month of the deceased. The reigning pope usually visits a cemetery in Rome and prays in front of the tombs of his predecessors.