Pope warmly greets a nun and an elderly priest during a meeting in Morocco

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Pope Francis met with the clergy of Morocco in the Cathedral of Rabat. As he arrived, he spent a few minutes greeting the bishops and religious people before then praying in silence.

Pope Francis especially greeted Brother Jean Pierre. He is one of the survivors from the monastery of Tibhirine, in Algeria. Jean Pierre now lives in Fès. The pope kissed his hands.

Representatives from the Evangelical, Anglican and Orthodox churches of Morocco also attended the meeting.

Fr. Germaine told Pope Francis about the joys and difficulties for Christians in Morocco.

“We are a small number of pastors on the peripheries, as you say, who give witness to Christ by word. However above all by deed to all the Christians, Muslims and people we meet.”

The pope once again greeted with much affection another elderly religious member, this 97-year-old Franciscan nun, Sr. Ersilia.

...a greeting also joined by Sr. Mary...

In his speech, Pope Francis recalled that although Christians are few in Morocco, they must be able to leave their mark.

“The problem is not when we are few in number, but when we are insignificant, salt that has lost the flavor of the Gospel, or lamps that no longer shed light.”

The pope insisted that the mission of these religious is not proselytism, but dialogue with those who live in that land.

“Dialogue, then, becomes prayer. We can carry it out daily in the name 'of the human fraternity' that embraces all human beings, unites them and renders them equal. In the name of this fraternity, torn apart by the policies of extremism and division, by systems of unrestrained profit or by hateful ideological tendencies, that manipulate the actions and the future of men and women.”

For this reason, the pope thanked these religious people for building bridges of friendship and collaboration. He also thanked them for carrying out, together with other Christians, an “ecumenism of charity” in favor of those who need it most.

“In this way, you will unmask and lay bare every attempt to exploit differences and ignorance in order to sow fear, hatred and conflict. For we know that fear and hatred, nurtured and manipulated, destabilize our communities and leave them spiritually defenseless. May it be also a path of dialogue and cooperation with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and with all men and women of good will.”

Before finishing, Pope Francis received a very special surprise...

These four children came running to greet him...

“Here is the future: the present and the tomorrow.”

This intimate meeting concluded with the Angelus prayer as well as more greetings from the pope to these religious people, who support the small Christian community in Morocco.

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