Pope at Audience: May we never forget our roots as we build bridges of humanity

Pope Francis addresses the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square. In the wake of his recent apostolic visit to Hungary he recalls two important aspects of the lives of Hungarian people and their nation: roots and bridges.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis recalled his recent trip to Hungary and decided to focus on two images: roots and bridges.


Pope Francis stressed how he saw “so many humble and hard-working people proudly cherish the bond with their roots” during his Journey to Hungary, adding that “among these roots are first and foremost the saints: saints who gave their lives for the people, saints who bore witness to the Gospel of love, saints who were lights in times of darkness; so many saints of the past who today exhort us to overcome the risk of defeatism and the fear of tomorrow, remembering that Christ is our future”.

The Pope then went on to note that despite this, the Hungarian people have been put to the test. “Their faith, as we have heard from the Word of God, has been tested by fire”, he said, recalling the atheist persecution of the 20th century, in which “Christians were struck down violently, with bishops, priests, religious, and lay people killed or deprived of their freedom”. Despite these attempts, the Pope said, “to cut down the tree of faith, the roots remained intact”: a hidden Church remained steadfast, with many clergy ordained in secret, who bore witness to the Gospel by working in factories, while grandmothers evangelised in hiding.


Pope Francis then turned to the second image: bridges. Budapest, the Pope noted, is famous for three bridges “that cross and unite its parts”. He noted how he had stressed, in Hungary, “the vocation of Europe, which is called, a “bridge of peace,” to include differences and to welcome those who knock on its doors. In this sense, the humanitarian bridge created for so many refugees from neighbouring Ukraine, whom I was able to meet while also admiring the great network of charity of the Hungarian Church, is beautiful”.

Continuing with the image of the bridge, the Holy Father noted that the country is also very committed to building bridges “for tomorrow”, with its concern for ecology. “There are also bridges that the Church is called upon to stretch towards the people of today, because the proclamation of Christ cannot consist only in repeating the past, but always needs to be updated, so as to help the women and men of our time to rediscover Jesus”.

Finally, the Pope recalled “with gratitude” the beautiful liturgical moments, and reflected on the “beauty of building bridges between believers”.

Let us ask ourselves, the Pope concluded, whether we too are building bridges in our daily lives, before entrusting Hungary to Mary, “the Queen of Hungary” and “Queen of Peace”.


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03 May 2023, 09:20

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