St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Catechesis on the Apostolic Journey to Romania
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Last weekend I made an apostolic trip to Romania, invited by the President and the Madam Prime Minister. I renew my thanks to them and extend it to the other civil and ecclesiastical Authorities and to all those who have collaborated in the realization of this visit. Above all, I give thanks to God who allowed the Successor of Peter to return to that country, twenty years after the visit of St. John Paul II.
In summary, as the motto of the Journey announced, I urged to "walk together". And it is my joy to be able to do it not from afar, or from above, but myself walking among the Romanian people, as a pilgrim in his land.
The various meetings highlighted the value and the need to walk together both among Christians, on the level of faith and charity, and between citizens, on the level of civil commitment.
As Christians, we have the grace to live a season of fraternal relations between the different Churches. In Romania most of the faithful belong to the Orthodox Church, currently led by Patriarch Daniel, to whom my fraternal and grateful thought goes. The Catholic community, both "Greek" and "Latin", is alive and active. The union between all Christians, although incomplete, is based on the one baptism and is sealed by the blood and suffering suffered together in the dark times of persecution, particularly in the last century under the atheistic regime. There is also another Lutheran community that also professes faith in Jesus Christ, and is on good terms with Orthodox and Catholics.
With the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church we had a very cordial meeting, in which I reiterated the Catholic Church's desire to walk together in reconciled memory and towards fuller unity, which the Romanian people invoked prophetically during the visit of St. John Paul II. This important ecumenical dimension of the journey culminated in the solemn Prayer of the Our Father, inside the new, imposing Orthodox cathedral of Bucharest. This was a moment of strong symbolic value, because the Our Father is the Christian prayer par excellence, the common heritage of all the baptized. No one can say "my Father" and "your Father"; no: "Our Father", the common heritage of all the baptized. We have shown that unity does not take away legitimate diversity. May the Holy Spirit lead us to live ever more as children of God and brothers among us.
As a Catholic Community we have celebrated three Eucharistic Liturgies. The first in the Cathedral of Bucharest, May 31, the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, an icon of the Church on a journey of faith and charity. The second Eucharist in the Shrine of uleumuleu Ciuc, destination of many pilgrims. There, the Holy Mother of God gathers the faithful people in the variety of languages, cultures and traditions. And the third celebration was the Divine Liturgy in Blaj, center of the Greek-Catholic Church in Romania, with the beatification of seven Greek Catholic Catholic bishops, witnesses of the freedom and mercy that come from the Gospel. One of these new blesseds, Mgr. Iuliu Hossu, during his imprisonment wrote: "God sent us into this darkness of suffering to forgive and pray for the conversion of all". Thinking of the terrible tortures to which they were subjected, these words are a testimony of mercy.
Particularly intense and festive was the meeting with young people and families, held in Iaşi, an ancient city and an important cultural center, a crossroads between the West and the East. A place that invites you to open roads on which to walk together, in the richness of diversity, in a freedom that does not cut the roots but draws you in a creative way. This meeting also had a Marian character and ended with the entrusting of young people and families to the Holy Mother of God.
The last stop on the journey was a visit to the Roma community of Blaj. In that city the Roma are very numerous, and for this I wanted to greet them and renew the appeal against all discrimination and for the respect of people of any ethnicity, language and religion.
Dear brothers and sisters, we thank God for this apostolic journey, and we ask Him, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for it to bear abundant fruit for Romania and for the Church in those lands.
Full Text + Image Source: Shared from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation