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Pope Francis meets members of the Italian Air Force Pope Francis meets members of the Italian Air Force  (Vatican Media)

Pope to Italian Air Force: Fly high, you are peacemakers

The Pope receives members of the Italian Air Force as the Lauretan Jubilee comes to an end, telling them they are peacemakers in the air.

By Vatican News staff reporter

This 10 December brings to an end the Lauretan Jubilee which was granted on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the proclamation by Pope Benedict XV of Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of all airmen.

For a century pilots and travelers have prayed to the Virgin Mary to keep them safe while in the air. 

Greeting members of the Italian Air Force in St Peter's Basilica on Friday, Pope Francis underlined the importance of looking to the sky which, he said, opens oneself to God and others.

The Pope noted that every Jubilee, “according to ancient biblical tradition, reminds us that we are pilgrims in this world: that we are not ‘masters’ of the earth - and even less of heaven - but we are charged with cultivating and preserving this ‘garden’ in which God has placed us.”

This Jubilee, he continued, “has reminded us that God has also created heaven for us.”

Look to the sky

 “Contemplating the sky opens us up to boundless spaces; it makes us feel small and at the same time ‘thought of’, ‘remembered’ by the One who created the universe, a reality that never ceases to amaze us as we discover it with ever more powerful instruments of observation, he said.”

The Pope added that “the sky reminds us that we are also made to fly, not so much in the material sense, but above all in the spiritual one.”

As we are children of the Father, “which is like saying: fly high,” Pope Francis said, it is important to make room for service, kindness and magnanimity rather than egoism, which leads people to close themselves off.

By living a life with God at the centre, “your life will take flight, the Pope stressed.”

Pope Francis told the members of the Air Force present that they should make room for these values in the daily performance of their duties, but first of all in their personal lives, so that there may be unity between what they are and what they do.

Being peacemakers

“For you, ‘flying high’ means being peacemakers, serving peace both in the air and on the ground, at home and abroad, in conflict zones," he said.

In conclusion, the Pope observed that “the Holy House of Loreto reminds us that wherever we are, we have a home that guards our Christian roots; and we have a Mother who watches over us. The home is the Church and the Mother is Mary. From her we learn above all humility, which is the way that leads to Heaven.”

10 December 2021, 12:30