Pope's plea for openness resonates in Hungary following his Apostolic Visit

Pope Francis bids farewell to the people of Hungary on Sunday, wrapping up a three-day Apostolic Visit during which he encouraged them to remain open to people from other countries and to grow in fraternity in order to pursue peace.

By Stefan J. Bos - Budapest

Many among the tens of thousands of people gathering in and around the square near Hungary’s iconic neo-gothic parliament building on Sunday morning appeared visibly encouraged after hearing Pope Francis. 

Hungarian online media covering the Mass noticed that the Pope had urged the faithful to be open to those who, in his words, are “foreign or unlike us,” such as migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. 

The Pope had asked the many people listening to him to be open doors and to be inclusive, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which he called the "path of peace."

Pope Francis also brought that message of more openness on Saturday, when he met refugees and poor people at St. Elizabeth’s church. 

The church was named for a Hungarian princess who renounced her wealth to dedicate herself to the poor as a follower of the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

The Pope appeared visibly moved when the music of a Ukrainian refugee family reverberated across the church. 

They are among the 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees who entered Hungary, although most continued their journey toward other countries. 

Meeting with government leaders 

He also spoke about showing openness to others when he addressed Hungary’s government on the first day of his visit on Friday. 

Pope Francis also made it a point on Saturday to meet children who have visual and physical disabilities and who often face difficulties in Central and Eastern Europe. 

And he later met nearly 12,000 young people at the city’s sports stadium, urging them to reach out to the vulnerable and encouraging them to accept Christ’s forgiveness.

“God always forgives,” he said, asking them to repeat this with him in the Hungarian language. 

While the Pope reflected on peaceful co-existence with people of all nations and his hope for peace in Ukraine, he also clarified that real peace can only be found in Christ. 

It’s his wish for Hungary and the world.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos

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30 April 2023, 16:55