Pope to Aviators: ‘May the skies always only be skies of peace’
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Friday offered his support and encouragement to representatives of Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority noting that the sector has been amongst the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He reflected on how civil aviation has contributed to the development of the contemporary world, “bringing distant peoples closer together and introducing them to each other.”
Describing the work of aviators (and of the entire sector) as a “valuable social good”, he said “You offer an indispensable service to the nation and its citizens, contributing greatly to the development of its European and global vocation.”
Fostering collaboration and mutual exchange
Thanks to aviation, the Pope noted, “thousands of passengers are able to reach other cities and countries, for business, for tourism, for family needs, and thus approach various cultures and traditions.“
Encounter and fraternity
Pope Francis also upheld the value of the sector for the development of human and social relations at the international level.
“In the face of the recurring temptation to return to erecting national barriers, it stands out all the more that your work is in the service of encounter and fraternity,” he said.
May skies always be skies of peace
The Pope also turned his attention to the tragedy of war in Ukraine, noting that there are cases in which aviation is used “as an instrument of offense, of destruction, of death.”
“We are unfortunately seeing this also in this terrible war in Ukraine, marked daily by aerial bombardment,” he said.
In the face of this bleak scenario, Pope Francis continued, our hope is ever more pressing “that the skies will always and only be skies of peace, that we can fly in peace to forge and consolidate relationships of friendship.”
Pope Francis then recalled the National Day “Lest We Forget” established to remember the victims of a tragic accident at a Milan airport in 2001 in which 118 people died.
He reflected on the work of aviation operators to implement appropriate programs in order to prevent serious accidents on means of transportation, encouraging them to continue this annual appointment.
And before concluding, he offered a brief reflection on the difficulties many airlines have been facing with the crisis deriving from the pandemic and the consequent economic losses that so often have resulted in the loss of jobs for staff.
"Please care for people, and make sure they are not without work from one day to the next: work is a wealth," he said calling for solidarity, sincerity, friendship and care in difficult times.
Finally, he extended his congratulations “because you know how to live [your work life] also in the religious dimension, which for you finds its point of reference in Our Lady of Loreto, your Patroness, to whom you are particularly devoted."