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Pope Francis arrived to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica near the Old Port of Marseille. The cathedral is known among locals as the “Good Mother” as it has historically been a symbol of hope and protection for sailors, fishermen and the people of the city.
At the Basilica, the Pope was met by Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, the Archbishop of Marseille. The two were welcomed by the sounds of the choir as they walked through the church.
After a few moments of prayer in front of the statue of Mary, the Pope delivered his first public address of the trip to the clergy of the Diocese of Marseille. Here, he focused on the “two gazes”—the first of Jesus onto all men and women and the second of men and women onto Jesus. He encouraged the religious present in their role of bringing this gaze to all.
May the wounded of life find a safe harbor, a welcome. A safe harbor in your gaze, an encouragement in your embrace, a caress in your hands, capable of wiping away tears. Even in the many occupations of each day, please do not let the warmth of God's paternal and maternal gaze fail.
The Pope added that a vital part of Jesus' gaze is the radical forgiveness of sins.
It is marvelous to generously dispense his forgiveness, that is, to always, always, loosen the chains of sin through grace and free people from those obstacles, regrets, grudges and fears against which they cannot prevail alone.
The Pope then closed his address by leading a Marian prayer alongside the hundreds of audience members present.