» 08/07/2013, 00.00
VATICAN - ARGENTINA
Pope: 'Looking those most in need in the eye, that's what makes us Christians'
The Pope sends a video message to his old archdiocese, which today celebrates the liturgical memorial of St Cajetan patron saint "of bread and work". To the faithful who queue for hours to kiss the statue of the saint, Francis says: "We must be able to reach out to eachother. We must build, create,construct a culture of encounter. "
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Looking the poor in the eye, touching the needy,
following the example of Jesus to make room for the work of the Holy Spirit:
"This is a Christian! This is what Jesus taught: to reach out to those in
need. Like Jesus who always reached out to the people. Who went out to meet
them. Reaching out to the most needy".
This is the heart of the video message sent by Pope Francis to the
Archdiocese of Buenos Aires on the feast of St Cajetan.
Every year, on August 7, the feast of the saint's death, thousands of
people line up to venerate the statue of San Cayetano, to kiss the glass of the
small niche that contains it and make the sign of the cross. The
queue winds through 15 of the city's streets all day long and the wait can last
up to 10 hours.
theme of the festival this year is "With Jesus and San Cayetano we encounter the neediest."
celebration will include a novena of prayer, from 1 to 9 August, with specific
prayer intentions each day: for the family, authorities, the suffering,
deceased, unemployed, and solidarity.
The Pope's video message is being broadcast at regular intervals on the Catholic
Television of Buenos Aires (Canal 21) and on big screens at the entrance of the
Sanctuary starting at midnight local time (5 this morning in Italy) so that the
faithful waiting in line can see and
hear him. Here is the
full text of the message.
year, after having travelled the length of the queue, I speak with you. This time, however, I
have travelled the length of the queue in my heart. I am a little too far away
to be able to share this beautiful moment with you. Right
now, you are on pilgrimage towards the image of St Cajetan. Why? To
meet with him, to meet with Jesus. But today, the theme of this pilgrimage - a theme
chosen for you, selected from among many possibilities - today the theme is
about another meeting, and says: "With Jesus and St Cajetan, let us reach
out to those most in need. "
This speaks of the people most in
need, of those who need us to give them a hand, who need us to look them with
love, to share their pain or their anxieties, their problems. What's
important is that we don't just look at them from afar or help from afar. No, no! We must
reach out to them. This is being
is what Jesus taught us: to reach out to the needy. Like Jesus who always reached
out to the people. He went to
meet them. Reaching out
to those most in need.
Sometimes, I ask people, "Do
you give alms." They
say, "Yes, father." "And
when you give alms, do you look into the eyes of people you are giving alms to?"
"Ah, I do
not know, I don't really think about it". "Then
you have not reached out to those people.
You just tossed them some charity and went away. When you give alms, do
you touch their hands or just toss them the coins?". "No, I toss them
the coins". "Then
you have not touched them. And if you have not touched them, you have not reached
out to them." What
Jesus teaches us, first of all, is to reach out to each other, and in reaching
out, helping one another.
We must be able to reach out to
each other. We
must build, create, construct a culture of encounter. How many differences,
family troubles, always! Trouble in the
neighborhood, trouble at work, trouble everywhere. And these differences do not help. The culture of encounter. Reaching out to encounter eachother. And
the theme says, "Reaching out to those most in need", in short, with those
who need me. With
those who are going through a bad time, far worse than what I'm going through.
There is always someone who is
having a worse, eh? Always! There is always someone. So,
I think, "I'm going through a bad time, I line up to encounter San Cayetano
and with Jesus and then go out to encounter others, because there is always
someone who is having it worse than me." To
these people, it is to these people that we have to reach out.
Thank you for listening, thank
you for coming here today, thank you for everything you carry in your hearts. Jesus loves you very much! San Cayetano loves you very much!
only one thing: that you reach out! And that you go
and seek out and encounter the most needy! But not alone, no. With Jesus and San
Cayetano! Does this mean going
to convince someone to become became Catholic? No,
no, no! You are just
reaching out to meet him, he is your brother! That is enough. You reach
out to help them, the rest is done by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. Remember
well: with San Cayetano, we need we encounter the neediest. With
Jesus, we who are in need, we reach out to those who are even more in need. And
maybe Jesus will show us the path to meet with those who need it most.
you meet those most in need, your heart will begin to grow bigger, bigger and
reaching out multiplies our capacity to love. An encounter with others makes
our heart bigger. Take courage! "I don't know what to do on
my own". No, no, no! With Jesus and San
God bless you and may this feast day of St Cajetan end well. And please, do not
forget to pray for me. Thank you.
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