Pope to Scalabrinian missionaries: To be inclusive we must be creative
By Francesca Merlo
Addressing a group of Scalabrinian missionaries, who are in Rome for the Canonization of St. John Baptist Scalabrini, Pope Francis commented on the diversity of their assembly, noting that in this way, "you well represent the breadth of Bishop Scalabrini's work, the openness of his heart, to which, so to speak, one diocese was not enough."
During the audience on Monday, the Pope then spoke of Bishop Scalabrini's work, saying his apostolate in favour of Italian emigrants was "of great importance".
During his ministry in the late 1800s, explained the Pope, thousands of Italians were leaving for the Americas. "Bishop Scalabrini looked at them with the gaze of Christ...and he took care with great charity and pastoral intelligence to provide them with adequate material and spiritual assistance."
Migration today, like migration yesterday
Turning to the realities surrounding migration nowadays, Pope Francis noted that "migrations constitute a very important challenge", just as they did in St. Scalabrini's day.
He explained that "they highlight the urgent need to put fraternity before rejection, solidarity before indifference."
Continuing to stress the importance of encounter and humanity when speaking of the plight of migrants, Pope Francis reminded those present that "we are called today to live and spread the culture of encounter, an encounter on an equal footing between migrants and the people of the host country."
This experience, he continued, is both enriching and fruitful, because it reveals the beauty of diversity and reminds us that "the faith, hope and tenacity of migrants can be an example and a spur for those who want to commit themselves to building a world of peace and well-being for all."
In order for the world to be better for everyone, added the Pope, "we must start from the last."
Think outside the bo,
Pope Francis went on to remind those present that we are called to think creatively and "outside-the-box" in order to make fraternity and social friendship grow.
Bringing his discourse to an end, Pope Francis noted that it is precisely for this reason that he urges each Scalabrinian missionary to "always let yourselves be inspired by your Holy Founder, father of migrants, of all migrants."
"May his charism renew in you the joy of being with migrants, of being at their service, and of doing it with faith, animated by the Holy Spirit, in the conviction that in each of them we meet the Lord Jesus," he concluded.