By Devin Watkins
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent the Pope’s well-wishes on Saturday to the 40th Rimini Meeting, held on 18-24 August.
The annual encounter in the northern Italian city seeks to bring together people of different faiths and cultures in an environment of friendship and peace.
This year’s theme is taken from the poetry of Pope St. John Paul II: “Your name was born from that upon which you gazed” – a reference to St. Veronica who tradition holds wiped Jesus’ face with her veil as He carried His cross towards Calvary.
Pope Francis, wrote Cardinal Parolin, expressed his desire for the Rimini Meeting to be a place for people to encounter each other’s true face.
His words make reference to Veronica’s name, which in Latin resembles “vera icona” or “true image”.
Burdened by life
Cardinal Parolin said the theme reminds us that Jesus “loved us and gave His life for us – each one of us – to reaffirm our unique and unrepeatable image.”
He said this truth is a reminder of our many contemporaries who fall under the burden of life or are abandoned.
“Let us think about the thousands of individuals who every day flee war and poverty,” said the Cardinal. “They are not just numbers, but faces, persons, names, and histories. We must never forget them, especially when our throw-away culture marginalizes, discriminates, and uses them, threatening their human dignity.”
Cardinal Parolin said there are so many people who need to see the Lord’s face in order to rediscover themselves.
Instead of living in fear and self-imposed exile, he said, we should fix our gaze on the face of Jesus, who will “purify our vision and prepare us to see everything with new eyes.”
Our contemporaries need the hope given by Jesus, Cardinal Parolin said.
We can offer it to them and be “original”, he concluded, “if our face acts as a mirror for the image of the Risen Christ.”