By Devin Watkins
The Church in France is holding its annual Semaines Sociales de France (SSF—French Social Weeks), which offers a platform for training and debate on the main issues facing society.
The event runs from Friday until Sunday, and takes place this year under the theme of “Dare to Dream the Future: Taking Care of People and the Earth”.
Dreaming together creates new reality
Pope Francis sent a message, signed Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, to participants, encouraging them to focus on reality as they dream of the future.
“We must not be afraid to dream,” said the Pope, “especially if this dream is shared and carried together.”
The Pope called on the French to look for inspiration in the dreams he laid out in his Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia.
He said we must dream of a society which protects the rights of the poorest, safeguards cultural richness, preserves the natural beauty of the planet, and welcomes the Gospel message of God’s love as expressed in Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis said these dreams can only become reality if they are shared, as events like the French Social Weeks help facilitate.
Christian hope for the world
The Pope added that the pandemic has taught us that “our lifestyles must change” and that we must dream of a future that “makes people want to live in hope.”
“As Christians, it is this beautiful virtue of hope that we can bring to the world in these decisive times,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded his message encouraging French citizens to allow the Lord to guide their discussions on social topics.
“May the Lord open your hearts, enlighten your minds, and inspire your discussions, so that you might formulate the paths of hope that our world so desperately needs, and that your work might support, defend, and promote the care of Creation, of the most vulnerable, and the integral development of each person, including their fundamental spiritual dimension.”