Parolin: The Pope asks us to be witnesses of a Church facing the world

Budapest and Slovakia await Francisco. In Šaštin, Slovakia, the Pope will entrust to Our Lady all those in fragile situations, said Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Parolin: The Pope asks us to be witnesses of a Church facing the world

The Pope prepares to leave for his 34th apostolic journey: will close the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, then visit Slovakia. There is great anticipation for the arrival of the Successor of Peter. A double apostolic visit - reiterates the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin - which the Pope himself announced on his return from Iraq and which was born of desire and prayer. The visit to the National Shrine of Šaštin, in Slovakia, will be "a pilgrimage that takes place after the surgery that the Pope underwent, therefore, in a sense, also to thank Our Lady for the success of the operation".

The Pope himself, during the interview on his return from Iraq, beckoned to his will, his intention which - as often happens with travels - was born, he says, from prayer: the desire, the intention to preside at the closing Mass the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, which had already been postponed because of Covid, and then precisely, given the proximity, to pass through Slovakia and visit the country.

The Archbishop of Budapest, Cardinal Erdö, reiterated that Hungary needs the light of faith to feel and deepen fraternity with all peoples. What are the expected fruits of this Eucharistic Congress?

Eucharistic Congresses are occasions for celebration, reflection, study, deepening of the mystery of the Eucharist and, therefore, the International Congress in Budapest also has this objective. In fact, all these moments are taking place in these days, both celebratory, academic and deepening. The Eucharistic Congress should then lead to a life that is Eucharistic: a few days ago I reread the speech, the homily that Pope Francis gave - it was in 2018 - in Molfetta, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Don Tonino Bello and at that time he said, among other things: "In every parish, in every church it could be posted as a warning: 'After Mass one no longer lives for oneself, but for others.' I believe that this is the meaning of what Cardinal Erdö said, that is: the Eucharist immerses us in the love of Christ, in the very life of Christ, which is a love with universal dimensions and, therefore, must enable us to see in every man , in each person, a brother whose burdens we must bear.

In Slovakia, the Pope will be received by a population in which the memory of Saints Cyril and Methodius is very vivid: a visit that reaffirms the spiritual bridge of dialogue between East and West...

Certainly. The figure of Saints Cyril and Methodius is a figure that has profoundly characterized the entire history of the Slovak nation: in the Constitution itself, in the preamble, it seems to me that they are spoken of as spiritual and cultural Fathers of the Nation. And John Paul II, in Slavorum Apostoli, speaks of them as a bridge between East and West. What we can learn from these saints - and I believe that their message is current, perennial, and I remember that they are also Patrons of Europe, desired by John Paul II - is this ability to inculturate the Gospel. They knew how to speak to the people of their time, they knew how to announce the Gospel in categories accessible to them, and this is an invitation to do what Pope Francis asks of us when he speaks of a Church on the way out, of a Church that must be entirely focused on the evangelization of the world: being focused on the evangelization of the world means finding the right language so that the world can receive the proclamation of the Gospel. Therefore, on the one hand this inculturation, this missionary impulse, and on the other hand also the fact of knowing how to insert this diversity of spirituality, of expressive forms of spirituality, of language culture also in the Catholic unity which thus becomes a symphonic and not a uniform unit.

The program of the visit is intense, including also a meeting with the Gypsy community, a sign of the Pope's attention to this reality...

It seems to me that this meeting is in continuity with the meeting that the Pope had two years ago in Romania with the Gypsy community, where he expressed from the bottom of his heart all the pain for the suffering they had been subjected to, and which they had to endure. over time. It is a strong participation of the Pope in the people's pain and, therefore, also a request for forgiveness of all the responsibility that the Church or men of the Church may have had in this situation. At the same time, special attention is also given to this population, which means respect, as well as appreciation for the values ​​they express and which are many: from the value of the family to the value of solidarity, hospitality, care for the elderly and so on. On the other hand, it considers the effort that is being made to fully integrate them into society.

The Pope will preside at Mass at the National Shrine of Šaštin on the day of the feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, Patron Saint of Slovakia. This is a stage that the Pope did not want to give up...

Certainly, and in a sense he even extended his trip to be able to participate in this popular feast of great devotion to the Patron Saint of Slovakia. I believe that, on the one hand, this is an indication of the great consideration that the Pope has always given to popular religiosity, to popular piety, but above all to the devotion to Our Lady, which he knew directly in Latin America, in Argentina, almost everywhere. countries of that continent, but which is also strongly rooted in Europe. This Shrine of Šaštin is an example of how important devotion to Our Lady is for the life of faith of a people, of a community. At the same time, I would also like to underline the fact that this pilgrimage is taking place after the Pope's surgery, so in a sense it is also a way of thanking Our Lady for the success of this operation, but also of entrusting to Her all those who find themselves in situations of fragility, vulnerability, suffering, including physical, as he experienced in this period, especially taking into account the situation, the contingency of the pandemic that is unfortunately still causing pain in many countries.

Your Eminence, in what spirit is the Pope leaving?

He said it himself, last Sunday, after the Angelus, September 5th. He said: "I wish…", therefore a great desire to meet these faithful, to know these Churches, bearing in mind that the apostolic journeys have decreased because of Covid, the Pope feels the need, precisely, to intensely resume this form of exercise of his Petrine ministry and this possibility of contact with the people that precisely characterizes his style and way of being.

Source: Vatican News

Credit: Photo: Vatican News

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