Pope to Argentine pilgrims: 'Look what can be done with God's help'
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Pope Francis has sent a message to Los Hogares de Cristo (Homes of Christ) in Argentina, as the group takes part in a nationwide pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin of Luhan.
“A pilgrimage and a message,” the Pope said. “A pilgrimage of hope: 'We cannot lose even one more child because of drugs.' A pilgrimage of witness: 'Look what could be done with God's help!'”
The Holy Father’s video message was released at the Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, at the launch of the Pilgrimage for the 15th anniversary of Los Hogares de Cristo, with the theme: Not one less child because of drugs (#NiUnPibeMenosPorLaDroga).
A constructive pilgrimage
Pope Francis described the pilgrimage as “constructive”, pointing to the messages and the testimony of the last fifteen years of the existence of Los Hogares de Cristo.
He added that it is “a hope,” against the crime of drugs which destroy lives, and stressed that “an alternative path can be opened.”
“There is time,” the Holy Father affirmed. “It can be done.”
In this regard, he upholded the Hogares de Cristo as not just “a hand that lifts” but also a place of affection and “a home in which you rebuild [rearm] yourself, your life is strengthened and you are reinserted in a much better way into society.”
15 years' anniversary
The Pope went on to wish a “happy 15th anniversary” to Los Hogares de Cristo as they begin the pilgrimage throughout the country.
He also encouraged the group not to slacken their efforts, reminding pilgrims that they will face many difficulties, but so far, they have overcome them because “you are convinced that what you give and what you are giving is salvation for so many children threatened by drugs.”
Pope Francis concluded the video message with a blessing and some encouragement: “May God bless you, and may you strive ahead.”
About the pilgrimage
The pilgrimage was launched on Sunday, 4 September, and was organized by the Familia Grande Hogar de Cristo, Caritas Argentina, and the Union of Parish Clubs.
The Virgin of Luhan will go on pilgrimage through the Neighborhood Centers of Los Hogares de Cristo, which are spaces in neighbourhoods that work in coordination with Caritas to provide a comprehensive response to persons in situations of vulnerability caused by the consumption of drugs.
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