Pope Francis Welcomes Pilgrims and Remembers Priest who Baptized him from Lodi Region

Clementina room
Friday, August 26, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank the Bishop for the greeting he addressed to me on your behalf and on behalf of the entire Lodi community, which you represent well in both the ecclesial and civic dimensions. And I thank the Bishop Emeritus, because I like that the emeritus continue to participate in the life of the Church, and do not lock themselves up… Come on, courage! In fact, you are priests, consecrated women, seminarians and lay faithful, synodal delegates and representatives of parishes and associations, volunteers and communication operators, together with the public authorities of the Province and the Lodi area, with the Mayors, in particular those of the first "red zone "In the West for the covid-19 epidemic.
The reasons that prompted you to come are different. I like to remember first what binds me to you with a kind of "kinship" that I would call "baptismal". As you know, the priest who baptized me, Father Enrico Pozzoli, and who then helped me to enter the Company [of Jesus] and followed me all my life, is a son of your land, a native of Senna Lodigiana, in the "lower ”, near the Po River. Attracted by Don Bosco's charism, he left as a young man for Turin and, having become a Salesian, was immediately sent to Argentina, where he remained for his whole life. He became friends with my parents and he also helped them accept my calling to the priesthood. I was happy when your good fellow countryman - who is present here - collected documents and news about him and wrote his biography. I had it immediately, of course, but today I receive it in official form, so to speak, and with emotion, because you bring it to me, friends of Senna Lodigiana, fellow villagers of Don Pozzoli, who was a true Salesian! A wise, good, hard-working man; an apostle of the confessional - he never tired of confessing -, merciful, capable of listening and giving good advice. Thank you so much! This is why I say that we are somewhat related, but not by blood, no, the thread that unites us is much stronger and more sacred because it is that of Baptism!
Speaking of ties with your land of Lodi, we cannot forget that there is another one, this time because of a great saint: Francesca Saverio Cabrini, a native of Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, who founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Codogno and is the patroness of migrants. I am the son of migrants; Argentina has become home to many and many migrant families, mostly Italians, and Santa Cabrini and the Cabriniane are an important presence in Buenos Aires. Today I want to express to you my admiration and my gratitude for this woman, who - together with Bishop Scalabrini - is a witness of the Church's closeness to migrants: her charism is more relevant than ever! I ask for her intercession so that your diocesan community is always attentive to the signs of the times and draws from the charity of Christ the courage to live the mission today.
Father Pozzoli and above all Saint Cabrini remind us that evangelization is done essentially with the holiness of life, bearing witness to love in facts and in truth (cf. 1 Jn 3:18). And so too is the transmission of the faith in families, through a simple and convinced witness. I think of grandparents and grandmothers who transmit the faith by example and with the wisdom of their advice. Because the faith must be transmitted "in dialect", always, in no other way. Grandparents, dad, mom ... Faith must be transmitted in dialect. We know well that today the world has changed, indeed, it is constantly changing. There is a need to look for new ways, new methods, new languages. The main way, however, remains the same: that of witness, of a life shaped by the Gospel. The Second Vatican Council showed us this way, and the particular Churches are called to walk in it with an outgoing attitude, with a missionary conversion that involves everyone and everything.
Your Church has already experienced two Synods after the Second Vatican Council: the thirteenth and, recently, the fourteenth. Now, the synodal journey that we are undertaking as a universal Church would like to help the whole People of God to grow precisely in this essential, constitutive, permanent dimension of being Church: walking together, in mutual listening, in the variety of charisms and ministries. , under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who creates harmony and unity out of diversity. I welcome from you the Book of your recent diocesan Synod as a sign of communion, and I urge you to continue the journey, faithful to the roots and open to the world, with the wisdom and patience of the peasants and the creativity of the craftsmen; committed to caring for the poor and caring for the earth that God has entrusted to us. The synodal journey is the development of a dimension of the Church. I once heard it said: “We want a more synodal and less institutional Church”: this is not right. The synodal journey is institutional, because it belongs to the very essence of the Church. We are in synod because it is an institution.
And we come to the third reason that brought you here today: the traumatic experience of the first phase of the pandemic, which affected your territory, especially the southern part. This pandemic has been and is a complex experience, even too great for us to fully master it. However, we cannot and must not neglect serious verification, at all levels. Starting again does not mean giving a "wipe in the sponge". But that's not the point now. Today, the sign you are giving is that of a community that wants to start again together, treasuring the experience, valuing the talents that emerged in the hardest moments of the ordeal, and you know them well. I want to say a big thank you - a big thank you! - to doctors, nurses, volunteers, chaplains, mayors, for the testimonial way in which you have lived this painful pandemic. You have been an example. And many of you have remained there, serving the sick. Thank you! Thanks for what you did.
Dear brothers and sisters of Lodi, St. John Paul II visited your diocese thirty years ago. We can imagine building a bridge between Saint Bassiano and Saint John Paul II. A bridge between the first Bishop, the evangelizer of your land, and the Pope who introduced the Church into the third millennium. Precisely the great disproportion between the two contexts is suggestive, and these two "fathers" of the Church can only be found on the essential, that is, Jesus Christ and the sweet joy of announcing him to the world. The world changes - the world changes! -, But Christ no, and not even his Gospel. The future of the Church lies in going to the essentials, going to the springs, and from there taking to walk ... As the young people of Lodi did on their recent pilgrimage with the Bishop to the Holy Land. They went to the source, to Jesus Christ, born of virgin Mary, true man and true God. Through the intercession of Saint Bassiano, I ask that in the Lodi area the thirst for the Gospel never be lacking and men and women capable of giving it to everyone with joyful testimony.
Thank you for coming! I cordially bless you and the entire diocesan community, as well as the civil life of the Lodi area. And I ask you, please, do not forget to pray for me, because this work is not easy. Thank you!
Source: Vatican.va