Pope asks to transform old and current grudges into opportunities for communion

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When John Paul II traveled to Romania 20 years ago, he could only visit Bucharest and not the Transylvania area, where most of the country's Latin Rite Catholics live. However, he promised the pope would return and visit them.

Pope Francis has kept this promise. He celebrated Mass in the most important sanctuary in the area, Șumuleu-Ciuc, which the Hungarians call Csíksomlyó. 

Despite the cold, rain and mud, between 80-100,000 people attended the ceremony within this impressive landscape.

The pope greeted pilgrims present in a Romanian popemobile prepared for this special occasion. 

A portable sacristy had been prepared for Pope Francis very close to the altar. 

As the pope processed toward the altar, showing no concern that he had to walk in the mud, the pilgrims burst into applause.

Before kissing the altar, he looked at the crowds of people gathered for Mass and appeared to be moved by it.  

... The many pilgrims present also responded with emotion.

The pope was happy to know that both Romanians and Hungarians consider themselves at home in this shrine. In his homily he said this is a symbol of unity and fraternity.

“Let us not allow the voices and wounds that feed division and fragmentation rob us of fraternal love. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to change old and present grudges and mistrust into new opportunities for communion.”

The pope delivered his homily in Italian and although the majority did not understand it, they responded with applause. 

A priest then translated the pope's homily into Romanian, and later another translated it into Hungarian. 

The pope received the offerings for Mass from representatives of both Romania and Hungary. This family brought the bread, and these young people presented him the wine.

The culminating moment of the ceremony was during the consecration when everyone was silent to adore God.  

Afterward, the pope distributed communion to some deacons.

At the end of the ceremony, Pope Francis wanted to leave two gifts for the shrine. 

The first, a golden rose for the ancient image of the Blessed Mother that is venerated there.  

The second, a chalice, so the people there would remember his visit each time they celebrate Mass.

It is a ceremony people there have been waiting for centuries and will never forget. 

Hungarian President László Kövér and Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă also personally attended the event.

The Archbishop of Budapest, Card. Peter Erdo, was also present whom the pope wanted to greet at the end of Mass. 

Before leaving the shrine, Pope Francis' car drove close to the pilgrims so he could greet them. He then went on to the mountain roads of Transylvania, to continue his visit to the country. 

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