Pope Francis on Sunday visited the hill top town of Castelgandolfo, urging the thousands of locals and visitors to be visible signs of hope and peace in the world. Some ten thousand people, led by the mayor and bishop of nearby Albano, gathered in the square and side streets surrounding the papal summer residence ahead of the Holy Father’s arrival on Sunday morning.
Greeting each and every well-wisher in Castelgandolfo, Pope Francis thanked especially the religious and civil authorities, as well as all the staff who work in the Pontifical Villa where popes have traditionally spent time over the summer period – in particular he remembered his two immediate predecessors, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II
Speaking at the midday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel which recounts the story of the Good Samaritan and recalled the figure of a 16th century Italian priest who is popularly known as a patron saint of the sick and all who care for them.
The Pope also looked ahead to his forthcoming visit to Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day with hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world. He prayed for all those taking part in the pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro, that their hearts may be open to the mission that Christ gives them.
Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis remembered Christians in Ukraine who are today marking the 70th anniversary of a Second World War massacre of tens of thousands of Polish civilians by a Ukrainian nationalist militia. The Pope prayed for all the dead and injured, as well as asking God for the grace of true reconciliation between the peoples of Poland and Ukraine.
Here is the translation of the Holy Father's address before and after the recitation of the Angelus at the Papal Residence of Castel Gandolfo.
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Dear brothers and sisters, Good Day to you!
Today our Sunday gathering for the Angelus is here at Castel Gandolfo. I greet the inhabitants of this beautiful little town! I would like to thank you above all for your prayers, and I thank all of you many pilgrims who have come here for you prayers too.
Today’s Gospel, from chapter 10 of Luke, is the famous parable of the good Samaritan. Who was this man? He was anyone, coming down from Jerusalem to Jericho on the road through the Judean desert. On that road a man has just been assailed by brigands, robbed, beaten and left half-dead. Before the Samaritan there pass by a priest and a Levite, two people who are in charge of worship in the Lord’s Temple. They see that poor man but keep going and do not stop. The Samaritan, when he saw the man, instead “had compassion for him” (Luke 10:33) the Gospel says. He came to him, treated his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them; then he put him on his animal, took him to a hotel and paid for his room...
In short, he took care of him: it is the example of love of neighbor. But why does Jesus choose a Samaritan as the protagonist of the parable? Because the Samaritans were despised by the Jews on account of different religious traditions; and yet Jesus shows that the heart of that Samaritan is good and generous and that – unlike the priest and the Levite – he puts into practice the will of God, who desires mercy more than sacrifices (cf. Mark 12:33). God always wants mercy for everyone and not condemnation. He wants the mercy of the heart because he is merciful and well understands our suffering, our difficulties and even our sins. He gives to all of us this merciful heart! The Samaritan does just this: he simply imitates the mercy of God, mercy toward those in need.
A man who fully lived this Gospel of the good Samaritan is the saint whom we remember today: St. Camillus de Lellis, founder of the Ministers to the Sick, patron of the sick and healthcare workers. St. Camillus died on July 14, 1614: precisely today begins the 4th century since his death, which will culminate in one year. I greet with affection all the sons and spiritual daughters of St. Camillus, who live his charism of charity and daily contact with the sick. You are like good Samaritans! I pray that doctors, the infirm and those who work in hospitals and care centers will be animated by the same spirit. Let us entrust this intention to Mary Most Holy.
And there is another intention that I would like to entrust to Our Lady together with all of you. World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro is coming up soon. There are many young people here according to age, but all of you are young at heart! I will leave in 8 days, but many young people will leave for Brazil earlier. Let us pray then for this great pilgrimage that is beginning, that Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, guide the steps of the participants and open their hearts to welcome the message Christ will give them.
Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following to the crowd present in the piazza of the hilltop town:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I join in prayer with the prelates and faithful of the Church in Ukraine, gathered in the cathedral of Lutsk for the Holy Mass of suffrage on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the massacres at Volhynia. Such actions, provoked by nationalist ideology in the tragic context of World War 2, caused tens of thousands of victims and wounded the fraternity of the 2 peoples, the Polish and the Ukrainian. I entrust to the mercy of God the souls of the victims and, for their people, I ask the grace of profound reconciliation and of a peaceful future in hope and in sincere collaboration for the common upbuilding of the Kingdom of God.
I think also of the pastors and the faithful who are participating in the pilgrimage of the family of Radio Maria to Jasna Góra, Czestochowa, Poland. I entrust you to the protection of the Mother of God and I bless you from my heart.
I greet with affection the faithful of the Diocese of Albano! I invoke the protection of their patron St. Bonaventure, whose feast the Church will
celebrate tomorrow. May it be a beautiful feast and many best wishes! I greet all of the pilgrims who are present here: the parish groups, the families, the young people, especially those from Ireland; the group of young deaf people, who are holding an international meeting in Rome.
I greet the Sisters of St. Elizabeth, whom I wish a fruitful spiritual renewal; the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with families of different nations; the Daughters of Divine Charity, holding their general chapter; the superiors of the Daughters of Mary the Helper. I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch!
Dear brothers and sisters,
First of all I would like to thank the bishop of Albano, the mayor of Castel Gandolfo and the director of the Pontifical Residence for their cordial
welcome, which interprets the sentiments of all of you and all the citizens. I thank each and every one of you for this welcome!
I have come here for the day to meet with the citizens of Castel Gandolfo, with the pilgrims and all of the visitors, who rightly love this place, they are enchanted by its beauty, they find occasion for rest here... But I have also come to express to you, who work in the Pontifical Residence, my gratitude for your precious work. And with you I greet and thank your families, which in some way participate in your service to the Holy See. May the Lord assist you always, assist your work and your family life; may he fill you with his grace and accompany you in his paternal love.
The presence of the bishop of Albano, Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, offers me the opportunity to covey and affectionate thought to the parish community of Castel Gandolfo; and also to the religious communities that live in this area. I think of the whole Diocese of Albano, and I exhort its members to the renew with joy their commitment to the proclamation and witness of the Gospel.
I address a sincere thanks to you, Mrs. Milvia Monachesi, mayor of this city, and the entire municipal administration, for work on behalf of the community. I ask you to convey my cordial greeting and the assurance of a remembrance in my prayers to the entire population, whom I encourage to be a sign of hope and peace, always attentive to persons and to families who are most in difficulty. This is important! We must always be a sign of hope and peace in this moment. Open the doors to hope, so that hope goes forward, and spread peace, always!
In this moment my thoughts turn to Bl. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who loved to spend the summer here in this pontifical residence. Many of you were able to meet them and welcome them, treasuring a dear memory. May their witness always be an encouragement to you in fidelity to Christ and in the continual effort to conduct a life consistent with the demands of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.
Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust you to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary – whom we will honor as Virgin of Mount Carmel in two days – that you might be able to carry out your duties in a profitable and serene manner. May Our Lady always watch over you and your families! Pray for me too – I need it – and for my service. I renew to all of you and I bless you from my heart. Thank you!
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