Pope Francis meeting Italian firefighters and families Pope Francis meeting Italian firefighters and families 

Pope encourages firefighters to follow example of Good Samaritan

Addressing a group of Italian firefighters, Pope Francis says their selfless dedication to helping people in need reflects the parable of the Good Samaritan who embodies Jesus’ commandment to love as He loved us.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis met a group of Italian firefighters and their families in the Vatican on Saturday.

Welcoming some 3,000 people in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Pope thanked them for their “precious service” to prevent disasters and to save people in major emergencies, recalling the recent deadly mudslide in the Italian island of Ischia, and their several interventions to help earthquake victims.

He noted that their “sense of dedication, promptness, selflessness, boldness, and willingness to sacrifice” are well known and people are rightly proud of it.

The Good Samaritan 

Pope Francis went on to highlight that from the Christian perspective their work is reflected in the parable of the Good Samaritan which, he said, “eloquently presents the basic decision we need to make in order to rebuild our wounded world.”

“The Good Samaritan shows charity and willingness to help by assisting the victim in the moment of greatest need, while so many others - out of indifference or out of hardness of heart - have turned their gaze away.”

Fraternity is the answer for building a better society

The Pope further remarked that the protagonist of this parable shows us “God's compassion and tenderness” and tells us that fraternity is the answer for building a better society.

“[ You firefighters represent one of the most beautiful expressions of the long tradition of solidarity of the Italian people, which has its roots in evangelical altruism. ] ”

A mission

The Pope therefore urged them to safeguard this moral and civil heritage in their personal life, noting that their profession is truly a mission: that of service to people in times of need, to their dignity, and to the common good of society which, he said, “needs sane, reliable forces who work tenaciously” behind the scenes “especially in times of crisis, such as the one we are experiencing today.”

Noting that Christmas is the feast that more than any other sums up these values of closeness, compassion, tenderness; solidarity, service, and fraternity embodied by Christ through His incarnation, Pope Francis expressed the wish that the upcoming celebrations “may be an occasion for everyone to discover and experience how much God loves man, every human being”, and that Mary be a “model” for firefighters

He concluded by entrusting them to the intercession of their patroness, Saint Barbara.

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10 December 2022, 13:02