By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis sent a video message ahead of his Apostolic Journey to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which takes place on 22-25 September.
“Though I come as Pastor of the Catholic Church,” Pope Francis said, “I would like to embrace everyone and offer a message of peace, good will, and hope for the future.”
He noted how his visit coincides with the 100th anniversary since the three nations’ independence, and said he intends on honoring “all whose past sacrifices have made our present freedoms possible.”
Precious legacy of freedom
“Freedom, as we know, is a treasure that must be constantly preserved and handed down, as a precious legacy, to new generations,” he said.
Pope Francis invited all people in the Baltics to work for a better society.
“In times of darkness, violence, and persecution, the flame of freedom is not extinguished, but inspires hope in a future where the every person’s God-given dignity is respected and each one of us feels called to collaborate towards building a just and fraternal society.”
The Holy Father pointed out that solidarity and service are more important now than ever.
“I hope that my visit will be a source of encouragement for all those people of good will who, inspired by the deepest spiritual and cultural values inherited from the past, are working peacefully to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in need and to promote unity and harmony at every level of society.”
Finally, Pope Francis thanked the many people working tirelessly to prepare his Apostolic Visit to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
“To all of you, I assure you of my closeness in prayer and send my blessing.”
And, as always, the Pope asked us to continue praying for him.
“God bless you!”