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Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square for an audience with pilgrims from the Bologna and Cesena dioceses Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square for an audience with pilgrims from the Bologna and Cesena dioceses  (AFP or licensors)

Pope encourages pilgrims to go forward on their journey of faith

Pope Francis on Saturday addressed some 13,000 pilgrims from the Italian dioceses of Bologna and Cesena and recalled his visit to their communities which took place last year on October 1st.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis recalled his visit to the city of Cesena for the commemoration of the third centenary of the birth of Pope Pius VI, and with a thought also for Pius VII.

He said the memory of these two Bishops of Rome, both of whom were born in Cesena, provided a good opportunity to reflect on the path of evangelization undertaken and on new missionary goals to look ahead to.

'Heirs of Popes Pius VI and VII'

“Heirs of these and other important figures of pastors and evangelizers, you are called to continue on this same path, committing yourselves generously to proclaim the Gospel to your fellow citizens and witnessing it with works, which do not necessarily have to be great” he said.

Christians, he explained, are leaven of love, of fraternity, of hope with many small daily gestures, and he encouraged them to love small, everyday gestures “that may be as small as the yeast but they do so much good”.

He said the occasion for the visit to Bologna was offered by the conclusion of the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress.

Eucharistic Congress

“May the fervor aroused by that ecclesial event, which gathered many people around the Eucharist, be prolonged in time, not fade away but grow and bear fruit, leaving an indelible mark on the path of faith of your Christian community” he said.

And quoting from his recent Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” the Pope said that “Sharing the word and celebrating the Eucharist together fosters fraternity and makes us a holy and missionary community”.

The Eucharist, he said, makes the Church, brings it together and unites it in a bond of love and hope.

The Pope concluded his address encouraging the men and women of our time to open their hearts to an encounter with Jesus Christ.

This mission, he said, is responsibility and joy, a heritage of salvation and a gift to share: “It requires generous availability, self-denial and confident abandonment to the divine will. It is a question of making a journey of holiness in order to respond courageously to the call of Jesus, each according to his own particular charism”.

21 April 2018, 14:33