By Vatican News
Pope Francis begins his letter with an apology for what he calls “the informality of the gesture”.
He says that, through Padua’s daily newspaper, his intention is to reach out to the whole city, “to all the Christian communities with their priests and Bishop”. By writing to them, the Pope says he is symbolically writing “to everyone”.
God speaks to us in times of suffering
“The suffering and death that, as in other parts of Italy, you are experiencing because of the coronavirus is for me a reason for prayer and human closeness”, writes Pope Francis.
“It is also the reason for Christian hope”, he continues, because “even in these moments, God is speaking to us”.
Good will, responsibility and cooperation
The Pope describes “this dangerous situation”, as “an opportunity to see what men and women of good will are capable of”. Pope Francis says he is thinking “of those who, in these days, are doing more than they should: the medical and paramedical personnel first and foremost”.
Good will, “combined with a strong sense of responsibility and cooperation with the appropriate authorities, becomes an added value that the world sorely needs”, he writes.
Padua European Capital of Volunteering 2020
This year, the northern Italian city of Padua was named “European Capital of Volunteering". In his letter, the Pope calls this “a wonderful opportunity for your city to tell the world about your DNA”, which includes generous use of time and sharing of talents.
Pope Francis invites the people of Italy’s Veneto Region to be proud of their history and to take responsibility “for all the good sown by those who have gone before you”.
"Stitching Italy together"
In his letter, the Pope references the motto Padua has chosen as the guiding thread for the year of volunteering: "Stitching Italy together". The verb “to stitch”, he writes, recalls sewing and mending: “operations that are most necessary after a tear, a wound”.
Today we are tempted to throw away rather than to mend, writes Pope Francis: “It is a fate we reserve not only for objects, but also for people, especially the most helpless”. No one, he says, “should be refused a loving look of attention and a gesture of goodness”.
A symbolic caress
Pope Francis concludes by explaining how he chose to place the ad in the pages of Padua’s “Il Mattino” newspaper because he wants it to be “a caress” to those who are suffering at this time. He extends this symbolic caress “to all the other cities that share this moment and, at the same time, are giving testimony of good will to the world”.
His last word and blessing goes to all those who have lost a loved one, to the elderly, the sick and those who are imprisoned: anyone who, because of the Covid-19 Coronavirus emergency, is unable to receive even the simple comfort of a visit.