06/21/2014, 00.00
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The Pope celebrates Corpus Christi at Sybaris and excommunicates Ndrangheta

In the final Mass of his visit to the Diocese of Cassano all'Jonio, Francis condemns the idolatry of the Mafia organization because "it is the worship of evil and contempt for the common good". "Those who have this evil path in their lives, are not in communion with God, are excommunicated. The feast of Corpus Christi means "worshiping Christ" and walking "behind Him", in faith and in charity. We must "encourage lifestyles and initiatives that relate to the needs of the poor and outcast. "Witness to concrete solidarity with the brothers and sisters, especially those most in need of justice, hope, tenderness, the tenderness of the Eucharistic Lord".

Sybaris (AsiaNews) - "Ndrangheta is... adoration of evil and contempt for the common good. We must stop this evil and say no! Our young people are asking this of us. In order to meet these demands, faith can help us": with these words, spoken off the cuff during his prepared speech, Pope Francis today condemned the Mafia organization that is widespread in Calabria and Cassano all'Jonio, the diocese that the Pontiff visited today. Again referring to the Ndrangheta, the Pontiff added: "Those who have this path of evil in their lives, are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.

The words of Francis - who this morning had visited the prison of Castrovillari and the families of some victims of the Mafia - fall within the message that he wanted to leave the population on the occasion of the closing Mass: worship Christ, renouncing "the idols of money, vanity, pride and power" and walk behind Him, "in faith and in charity" to the point of "encouraging lifestyles and initiatives that relate to the needs of the poor and the outcast."

The Eucharistic celebration was held in the plain of Sybaris, in the presence of hundreds of thousands of faithful; also present were the Bishop, priests, and faithful of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Lungro, so much so that the Gospel was sung also in Greek.

At the beginning of the Mass, the Bishop of the diocese, Mons. Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the CEI, thanked the Pope for having come to this "small part of the Church." The diocese, with about 105,000 followers, is among the smallest in Italy. Mons. Galantino however mentioned that this Church is engaged in the evangelization and in "awakening consciences" against fatalism and immobility also against the Mafia.

The liturgy that was followed was that of Corpus Christi, which in Italy is celebrated tomorrow (in the Vatican, instead, it was celebrated last Thursday).  The Pope recalled that "worshipping Jesus in the Eucharist and walking with Him ... are the two inseparable aspects of today's feast, two aspects that mark the whole life of the Christian people".

"We worship God who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave himself for us, he offered Himself on the cross to atone for our sins and by the power of this love is risen from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no other God but this!". And after his condemnation of Ngrangheta, he added: "On account of this faith we renounce Satan and all his seductions; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride and power. We Christians don't want to worship anyone or anything in this world except Jesus Christ, who is present in the Holy Eucharist".

But our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ," he continued, "is authentic if we commit ourselves to walk behind Him and with Him, trying to put into practice His commandment, the one He gave his disciples at the Last Supper: "Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another" (Jn 13:34). The people who worships God in the Eucharist is the people that walks in charity".

He then encouraged "pastors and the faithful of the Church in Calabria, bravely engaged in the evangelization ... to promote lifestyles and initiatives that relate to the needs of the poor and of the last ones. And I extend this also to the civil authorities who seek to live the political and administrative commitment for what it is, a service to the common good. I encourage all to witness to concrete solidarity with the brothers and sisters, especially those most in need of justice, hope, tenderness, the tenderness. The tenderness of Jesus, in the Eucharist, that love that is so fraternal (sic!), so pure!"

He then addressed an invitation to young people "not to let your hope be stolen": "[Dear young people], I've said it so many times and I repeat it once more: Do not let your hope be stolen!".

"If you will adore Christ and will walk behind Him and with Him", he concluded, "your Church and diocesan parishes will grow in faith and charity, in the joy of evangelizing. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, and young people walk alongside one another, they support each other, help each other, love each other like brothers, especially in times of trouble".



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