Pope to Russian Catholics "I express to all of you my closeness in prayer, grateful for your witness of faith and charity." on 30th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Apostolic Administrations for Latin-rite
MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE INSTITUTION OF THE APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATIONS
FOR CATHOLICS OF THE LATIN RITE IN RUSSIA
Dear brothers and sisters ,
On the anniversary of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Administrations for Latin-rite Catholics in this beloved land, I am joyfully present among you through my Representative, HE Monsignor Giovanni d'Aniello, in the desire to corroborate the ecclesial communion that unites us in Christ. I express to all of you my closeness in prayer, grateful for your witness of faith and charity.
What you celebrate is not so much the memory of legal acts and formal realities. Rather, it is the time to remember , with humility and gratitude, the good received from the Lord and from so many brothers and sisters who, as true "saints next door", have supported you on your journey. It is also a propitious opportunity to propose, with the help of grace, to grow according to the Gospel , aspiring to become communities ever more docile to the Word of God, animated by hope and sustained by the consoling strength of the Spirit; open, in obedience to the supreme commandment of love, to encounter and sharing in solidarity with all, especially with the brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Church.
Ecclesial self-awareness constantly needs strong moments, such as the one you are experiencing, to renew itself and purify itself, in particular to remove, with the help of God, any temptation to self-referentiality and self-celebration, to better adhere to the same feelings that were in Christ Jesus (cf. Phil 2 : 5). In him, who by making himself a servant for us, loved us to the end (cf. Jn 13 : 1), our personal and community behaviors are regenerated; with him we can become, as the Apostle Paul wished, "happy in hope, strong in tribulation, persevering in prayer, solicitous for the needs of the brothers, attentive in hospitality" ( Rom 12 : 12-13).
My wish is that this commemoration will stimulate the entire Catholic community in the Russian Federation to be an evangelical seed which, with joy and humility, offers a clear transparency of the Kingdom of God. I wish you to be a community of men and women, children and adults, young people and the elderly, priests and lay people, consecrated persons and people in vocational research aimed at communion with all , to witness with simplicity and generosity, in family life and in every area of daily life, the gift of grace received. This is so pleasing to God and contributes to the common good of the whole of society. In particular, Christian witness excels in taking charge of others, especially the most needy and neglected.
Dear friends, "we have all been baptized in one Spirit to form one body" ( 1 Cor 12:13): in the context of the Eastern Christian tradition in which you live, it is important to continue walking together with all your brothers and sisters Christians, without getting tired of asking the Lord's help to deepen mutual knowledge and advance, step by step, on the path of unity. By praying for all and by serving those with whom we share the same humanity, which Jesus has united to himself in an inseparable way, we will rediscover ourselves as brothers and sisters in a common pilgrimage towards the goal of communion, which God indicates to us in every Eucharistic celebration.
Let us remain united in Christ: the Holy Spirit, poured out into our hearts, may make us feel children of the Father, brothers and sisters among us and with everyone. May the Holy Trinity, an incessant source of love, increase cohesion and the desire to promote it in every sphere. Through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and of Saint Joseph, I send to each one, with a special thought for the sick, my Blessing, asking you the favor of praying for me.
Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano, 16 September 2021, Memory of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian.