By Lydia O’Kane
Estonia, Land of Mary
In his meeting with state and civil authorities and members of the Diplomatic Corps on Tuesday, Pope Francis recalled how that for centuries Estonia was known as “the Land of Mary”. He remarked, that it is a name that is not simply part of the country’s history, but also part of its’ culture. Thinking of Mary and Estonia, the Pope continued, “reminds me of two words: memory and fruitfulness.”
Faith of your predecessors
“To be a land of memory, explained Pope Francis, is to keep remembering that what you have attained today is due to the efforts, the hard work, the spirit and the faith of your predecessors.”
The Pontiff noted the suffering and tribulation that the people had to endure at different times in history. “Struggles for a freedom and independence that was constantly disputed or threatened”, he said. Nonetheless, he added, “in the last twenty-five years or so, since you once again took your proper place in the family of nations, Estonian society has taken “giant steps” forward” in the fields of innovation, press freedom, democracy and political freedom.
Land of fruitfulness
Focusing on Estonia as a land of fruitfulness, Pope Francis commented that “one of the evident effects of technocratic societies is a loss of meaning in life and the joy of living.” People, he said are deprived of the “capacity to dream, to risk and to create.” Therefore, he underlined, “one of the most important obligations incumbent on all of us who have social, political, educational and religious responsibilities has to do precisely with how we can keep building bonds.” Therefore, the Holy Father stressed, “a land will be fruitful, and its people bear fruit and give birth to the future, only to the extent that it can foster a sense of belonging among its members, create bonds of integration between generations and different communities; and avoid all that make us insensitive to others and lead to further alienation.” In this effort, concluded the Pope, “I wish to assure you that you can count always on the support and help of the Catholic Church, a small community in your midst, yet one most desirous of contributing to the fruitfulness of this land.”