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Pope Francis reflects on his recent trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia


During his weekly catechesis, Pope Francis reflected on his recent trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia one hundred years after their independence. 

He stated that the purpose of his trip was to announce again the 'joy of the Gospel' to these countries that had suffered under both Nazi and Soviet occupation. 

The pope said during times of trial the Gospel strengthens and sustains the fight for freedom. He also stressed that even during times of liberty, the Gospel is the 'salt which gives every-day life its flavor and prevents the corruption of mediocrity and egoism.'

The pope ended by talking about his celebrations of Mass at Kaunas, Aglona and Tallinn, and how the faithful, in these countries, were able to renew their 'yes' to Christ 'who is our hope.'

SUMMARY OF POPE'S CATECHESIS

Dear brothers and sisters: I have just returned from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, a hundred years after their independence; three countries which suffered under the yoke of Nazi and then Soviet occupation. The purpose of my visit was to announce once again the joy of the Gospel and the revolution of mercy and tenderness, because freedom alone cannot give full meaning to life without love, God’s love. In times of trial, the Gospel strengthens and sustains the fight for freedom. In times of liberty it is the salt which gives every-day life its flavor and prevents the corruption of mediocrity and egoism. At the meeting with young people in Vilnius there was a palpable presence of Jesus Christ our hope. And in Riga, with the elderly, I underlined the connection between patience and hope which sustains us. This same hope enables priests, consecrated men and women and seminarians to persevere and enabled many martyrs to bear witness to God. The years have passed and different regimes have come and gone, but at Vilnius, above the Gate of Dawn, Mary the Mother of Mercy continues to watch over her people as a sign of sure hope and consolation. In the three celebrations of Mass at Kaunas, Aglona and Tallinn, the faithful, in whose hearts God reawakened the grace of Baptism, were able to renew their “yes” to Christ who is our hope.