SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PILGRIMAGE OF THE EPARCHY OF LUNGRO OF ITALIAN-ALBANIANS
OF CONTINENTAL ITALY
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to welcome you and to address each of you my cordial welcome. On this joyous occasion, that of the centenary of the Apostolic Constitution Catholici fideles, with which Pope Benedict XV erected the Eparchy of Lungro, you came to Rome, with your Pastor Mons. Donato Oliverio, to demonstrate in front of the entire Catholic Church the faith and communion of your beloved community. Thank you for this visit and for the testimony you give.
A hundred years ago, while the world was torn apart by the First World War, my venerable Predecessor listened to history, your legitimate needs, as well as your courageous spiritual journey, characterized by fidelity to tradition, despite the difficulties and suffering. The Pope had so much at heart the Eastern Church and meditated "what should be done to meet more firmly the needs and the right decorum of the universal Church and of the other particular Churches". He therefore decreed that the diocese of the Greek rite in the land of Calabria be "canonically established" (Bolla Catholici fideles).
This important anniversary is an opportunity to thank the Lord for what, in his goodness and mercy, has worked in your community in the last centuries. Therefore, I invite you to live this jubilee not so much as a goal, but rather as a new and joyful impetus in your human commitment and in your Christian journey. In this sense, it is more necessary than ever to deepen the past and make it a grateful memory, to find in it reasons for hope and to walk together towards the future that God will want to give us.
I encourage you to accept ever more in you and among yourselves the love of the Lord, source and reason for our true joy, to participate in the Sacraments, to show closeness to every family, to pay attention to the poorest and the needy, to accompany the young generations with the great educational challenge that involves us all: these are the dimensions in which we can preserve our traditions as well as our belonging to Christ and his Church. You are called to live as Christians, witnessing that love is more beautiful than hatred, that friendship is more beautiful than enmity, that brotherhood among all of us is more beautiful than conflicts.
Our prayer and gratitude today is also dedicated to those who rejoice with us from heaven. All those who transmitted their faith with their lives even before their words, in particular I think of the bishops, priests, religious, parents and grandparents who preceded you and who faithfully guarded and handed down the riches of your beautiful Tradition. Imitate their example and pass on the spiritual heritage that identifies you to the new generations.
May the maternal protection of the Holy Mother of God, the Oddity, accompany you on your daily journey. She, the obedient servant who welcomed the word of the Lord, makes you ever more docile to the will of the Father and generous instruments of her plan of salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, thank you again for this visit, and best wishes for your centenary! I ask you to please pray for me, and I cordially impart to you all my Blessing, which I gladly extend to your families and to the entire Eparchy of Lungro.
FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation