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Monday, May 9, 2016

Meeting the members of the Saint Peter's Circle

At 12:00 noon today (Rome time), in the Sala Clementina at the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the members of the Circolo San Pietro.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
for the members of the Saint Peter's Circle

Dear members of the Saint Peter's Circle!

I greet you all with affection and I thank your President General, Duke Leopoldo Torlonia for his courteous words.  I express to each of you my appreciation for all that you do every day in service to the weakest members of the people of our city.  Your association, a part of the ecclesial reality of the Diocese of Rome, is an expression of the Church going out: a Church that goes out in search of others, to visit, to encounter, to listen, to share and to support the poor.  Each of you is asked not only to go out and to encounter those in need, but also to take Jesus with you.  And also to go as disciples, as friends of the Lord; it's a matter of sharing your words, those of the gospel, of repeating his gestures of forgiveness, of love, of giving, of not seeking your own prestige but the good of others.

You hold before you the example of Our Lady, to whom we pray with particular devotion during the month of May.  Like you, she never grew tired of going out, of going in haste to meet and to bring about the visit of God (cf Lk 1:39).  You bear within you the visit of God because you are in profound communion with Him.  Blessed are those who have believed (Lk 1:45), said Elizabeth.  Mary is an icon of faith.  Only in faith can we proclaim Jesus and not ourselves.  During this Holy Year of Mercy, while we strive to walk the path of the works of mercy, we are called to renew ourselves in faith.  To carry the visit of the Lord to those who are suffering in body and in spirit, we must cultivate the gift of faith, the faith that is born in listening to the Word of God and seeking profound communion with Jesus.

I encourage you to continue bearing witness to the gospel of charity, by always striving to be signs and instruments of God's tenderness toward every person, especially the most fragile and forgotten among them.

Thank you also for Peter's Pence, which is collected in all the churches as a sign of your participation in the solicitude of the Bishop of Rome for the poor of this city.  May your meritorious charitable activity always be sustained by prayer, in order that you may draw from the heart of Christ the love that you share with your brothers and sisters.

I confide you all, your families and your apostolic commitment to the protection of the Holy Virgin, the Salus Populi Romani (Helper of the Roman People), and the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul.  I ask you to support my ministry above all with your prayer, and with all my heart, I give you my blessing.
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