At the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis talks about the two apostles who brought the faith to Rome. “They still want to carry Jesus, his merciful love, his consolation, his peace.” The pontiff welcomed the ecumenical delegation from Constantinople, as well as Chinese Catholics. Sharing the sorrow, he prays for the Turkish people after the Istanbul airport attack.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis marked the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul with an Angelus Prayer after celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in the presence of delegates from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Speaking about the latter, Francis said, "This presence is a sign of the fraternal ties between our Churches. Let us pray for stronger bonds of communion and common witness."
Before the prayer, the pontiff expressed his thoughts about the Apostles Peter and Paul, whom he called "two pillars and two great lights that shine not only in the Roman sky, but [also] in the hearts of believers in East and West".
Speaking about their mission, to whom the city of Rome is indebted, he said, "If here in Rome we know Jesus, and if the Christian faith is a living and vital part of this place’s spiritual heritage and culture, it is due to the apostolic courage of these two sons of the Near East.”
“They, for the love of Christ, left their homeland and, regardless of the difficulty of the long journey and the risks and suspicions that they would meet, landed in Rome. Here they became heralds and witnesses of the Gospel among the people, and sealed with martyrdom their mission of faith and charity.”
“Today, Peter and Paul ideally return among us to walk the roads of this city, knocking at the door of our homes, but above all of our hearts. They still want to carry Jesus, his merciful love, his consolation, his peace. Let us welcome their message! Let us treasure their testimony."
"To the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, let us entrust the entire world, in particular the city of Rome, so that it can always find the spiritual and moral values that enrich the foundation of its social life and its mission in Italy, Europe and the world."
After the Marian prayer, before thanking the pilgrims from all over the world, including China, Francis expressed his closeness to Turkey, which was hit by a terrorist attack last night.
"Last night, a heinous terrorist attack was carried out in Istanbul that killed and wounded many people. Let us pray for the victims, their families and the dear Turkish people. May the Lord convert the hearts of those who are violent and sustain our steps on the path to peace."
The Holy Father then invited all those present to share a moment of silence and then recite a Hail Mary.
Finally, the pope invited everyone to participate in the "fireworks display that will take place tonight in Piazza del Popolo, with proceeds going to support works of charity in the Holy Land and the countries of the Middle East."