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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A message to Catholics in Germany

This evening in Lipsig (Germany) the 100th meeting of Katholikentag, the Day of German Catholics began.  This meeting takes place every two years, and this year is focusing on the theme: Here is the man.

The gathering began at 6:00pm local time with the screening of a video message which was recorded by Pope Francis.
Video message of His Holiness
for Catholic Day in Germany

Dear brothers and sisters,

I heartily greet all of you who are participating in the 100th Day of Catholics in Lipsig.

I am happy that you have come in such great numbers.  You wish to demonstrate to men and women in Lipsig and in all of Germany that you are living the joy of the gospel.  You have good relationships with Christians of other confessions and you provide an authentic witness of Christ with your concrete commitment to the weak and to those in need.

Here is the man.  You have gathered under this motto.  This demonstrates in a very beautiful way what truly is important.  It is not what we do or appearances that count, but the capacity that we possess to pause, to look back, to be attentive to others and to offer them what they truly need.

Every human person desires communion and peace.  We all are in need of peaceful coexistence, but this can be only when we also build interior peace, within our hearts.  Many people live in a constant state of rushing and panic.  As a result, they tend to be overwhelmed by all the activity that is around them.  This also affects the way in which we treat the environment.  It is a matter of devoting more time to rediscovering harmonious serenity with the world, with creation but also with the Creator (cf Laudato si', 225).  In contemplation and in prayer, we seek an ever growing familiarity with God, and slowly, we discover that our heavenly Father desires our good.  He wants to see us happy, filled with joy and serenity.  This familiarity with God also enlivens our mercy.  As the Father loves us, so his children also love.  As He is merciful, we too are called to be merciful toward one another (cf Misericordiae vultus, 9).  Let us allow ourselves to be touched by the mercy of God, and with a good confession, in order that we might become more and more merciful like our Father.

Here is the man!  Often in our society, we meet men who are maltreated.  We see how others judge the value of their lives and urge them, in their old age and in their sicknesses, to die faster.  We see how men are compromised, tossed here and there and deprived of their own dignity, since they do not have work or because they are refugees.  Here, we see Jesus, suffering and martyred as we lay eyes on evil and brutality in all its dimensions, evil that men endure or cause others to endure in our world.

To all of you who are gathered in Lipsig, and to all the faithful of Germany, I express my wish that you will give more space to the lives and the voices of the poor and the oppressed.  Support one another by sharing your experiences and your ideas about how to proclaim the Good News of Christ to all people.  Let us implore the divine Consoler, the Holy Spirit, that he might give you courage and strength to be witnesses to this hope which is God for all of humanity.

Please also pray for me.  To all of you, who contribute to and are participating in this feast of faith, joy and hope, I willingly impart the Apostolic Benediction.
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