Before his regular general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall, he granted a special audience to some 2,500 pilgrims from the Italian Archdiocese of Benevento in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pilgrims paid the Pope a courtesy visit for his visit to the birthplace of St. Pio, popularly known as Padre Pio, at Pietrelcina last year on March 17.
Please find below a working translation of the Pope’s discourse to the pilgrims from Benevento:
You've come in such large numbers that it seems like
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am happy to welcome you and to offer each one of you my cordial welcome. You have come to Rome, with your Pastor, Bishop Felice Accrocca, to return the visit I had the joy of making to Pietrelcina on 17 March last year, on the centenary of the appearance of the permanent stigmata of St. Pio and of the 50th anniversary of his death.
I wish to renew my heartfelt thanks to all of you for the warm welcome you gave me on that occasion. I’ll never forget that day, just as I’ll never forget so many sick people whom I greeted that the visit has remained in my heart. The memory of that event full of ecclesial and spiritual
I would like to stop a little on this. He loved the Church with the many problems that the Church has, with so many adversities, with so many sinners. Because the Church is holy, she is the bride of Christ, but we, the children of the Church, are all sinners - some big ones - but he loved the Church as it was, he didn't destroy it with his tongue, as it's fashionable to do now. No, no! Love. The one who loves the Church knows how to
Whom does the office of the
Well, when things are not right, one has to report the defects to correct, but when you report the defects, you make known the defects, you love the Church. Without love is something from the devil. St. Pio had both - he loved the Church with all its problems and adversities, with the sins of her children. Please don’t forget this.
I encourage you to understand and welcome ever more the love of God, the source and motive of our true joy. We are called to give this life-changing love, especially to the weakest and the neediest. By spreading divine charity, each one of us contributes to building a more just and supportive world. Following the example of Padre Pio, please never tire entrusting yourselves to Christ and proclaiming His goodness and mercy through the witness of your lives. This is what men and women also in our time expect from the disciples of the Lord – witness. Think of St. Francis whom your bishop knows well what he said to his disciples -
Thank you once more for this visit! From my