By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis sent a message on Thursday for the liturgical memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of Italy and co-patroness of Europe, commemorated on 29 April.
St. Catherine of Siena was a member of the Dominican Third Order. She died on 29 April 1380, was canonized in 1461 by Pope Pius II, and was named a doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. She is particularly remembered for her role in helping the return of the papacy from Avignon, France, back to Rome, and for her continuous prayers for the restoration of the unity of the Church.
In the telegram sent on his behalf by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and addressed to Cardinal Augusto Paolo Lojudice, of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino, the Holy Father extended his greeting to the authorities, the faithful and all present for the celebrations.
He joined with them in thanking the Lord for gifting the Church and humanity such a great figure of a woman and a believer who calls the Church and people of good will to evangelical values.
Pope Francis went on to express hope that, in the context of the 560th anniversary of St. Catherine’s canonization, her example will foster in everyone, a “joyful and fervent witness to faith and charity” in order to promote a civilization of love.
Finally, the Pope invoked heavenly favors on everyone who takes part in the celebrations and imparted his apostolic blessing upon all the faithful.