11/04/2018, 13.44
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Pope saddened by attack against Coptic pilgrims in Minya killed because they were Christians

An extremist commando attacked a bus carrying pilgrims to the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor. The pope recited a Hail Mary for their families. The proclamation of the Blessed Mother Clelia Merloni was greeted with a round of applause. The pontiff spoke about the dual commandment, the “two sides of the same coin” and the “needs of the neighbour [which] require certain effective answers, but before this they need sharing.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis expressed his deep sadness over the death of Orthodox Coptic pilgrims killed two days ago in Minya, Lower Egypt.

A bus full of pilgrims, on their way to the monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, in a remote and desert area south of Cairo, was attacked by an extremist commando. At least seven people were killed and 19 wounded.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer to the faithful in St Peter's Square, Francis said: "I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they were Christians, and I ask Mary Most Holy to console the families and the whole community." After a long moment of silence, he invited those present to recite together the Hail Mary.

Before that, the pontiff commented on today’s gospel (31st Year of Ordinary Time, B, Mark 12:28b-34), the one in which a scribe came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" and Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (30- 31).

"By choosing these two words addressed by God to his people and putting them together Jesus taught once and for all that the love for God and love for one’s neighbour are inseparable; indeed, they are more than that, they support each other. Even though one comes after the other, they are the two sides of the same coin: Experienced together, they are the true strength of the believer! To love God is to live of him and for him, for what he is and for what he does.

“And our God is giving without reservation, it is forgiveness without limits, it is a relationship that promotes and makes one grow. To love God means investing our energies every day to be his collaborators in serving our neighbours without reservation, seeking to forgive without limits and nurturing relationships of communion and fraternity."

"The Evangelist Mark,” the pope noted, “does not bother to specify who our neighbour is because our neighbour is the person I meet in the journey of my days ... The needs of the neighbour require certain effective answers, but before this they need sharing. To illustrate this, we can say that a hungry person does not need only a bowl of soup, but also a smile, to be heard, and even a prayer, done together perhaps."

"This challenges our Christian communities. It is a question of avoiding the risk of being communities that live by many initiatives but with few relationships: ‘service stations’ as it were but little company, in the full Christian sense of the term. God, who is love, created us out of love so that we can love others by remaining united to Him. It would be an illusion to claim to love our neighbour without loving God; and it would be just as illusory to claim to love God without loving our neighbour."

Before the final greetings, Francis mentioned Mother Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1861-1930), who was beatified yesterday in Rome’s Basilica of St John Lateran.

The new blessed, the pontiff said, was a woman “who fully abandoned herself to the will of God, who was zealous in charity, patient in adversity and heroic in forgiveness. Let us give thanks to God for the luminous evangelical witness of this new Blessed and let us follow her example of goodness and mercy. Let us applaud the new Blessed!”

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