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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Regina Caeli for Pentecost

At 12:00 noon today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Caeli with the faithful and with pilgrims who were gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the usual Sunday appointment.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, which completes the Easter season, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ.  The liturgy invites us to open our minds and our hearts to the gift of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus promised to his disciples on several occasions, the first and the principal gift that He obtained for them through his Resurrection.  This gift, Jesus himself had implored from the Father, as we see in today's gospel passage which takes place in the context of the Last Supper.  Jesus says to his disciples: If you love me, keep my commandments; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you always (Jn 14:15-16).

 Above all, these words recall the fact that love for a person, and also for the Lord, is demonstrated not with a word, but with facts: and also by observing the commandments should be understood in an existential sense, in order that we might share this gift in every aspect of our lives.  In fact, to be Christian does not principally mean belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather uniting our own lives, in every sense, to that of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father.  This is the reason why Jesus promises the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples.  It is thanks to the Holy Spirit, to the love that unites the Father and the Son who sent the Spirit, that we can live the life of Jesus.  In fact, the Spirit teaches us everything, and the only thing that is necessary: to love like God loves.

In promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus defines him as another Paraclete (Jn 14:16), which means a Consoler, an Advocate, an Intercessor, the One who helps us, who defends us, who is always by our side along the journey through life and who fights for good and against evil.  Jesus says: another Paraclete because He is the first, He himself, who became a man so that he could take upon himself our human condition and free us from slavery to sin.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit exercises a function of teaching and of memory.  Teaching and memory. Jesus told his disciples: The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit which the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of all that I have said (Jn 14:26).  The Holy Spirit does not teach something different, but enlivens Jesus' teachings, helps us to see them at work, because they are not erased with time.  The Holy Spirit intensifies Jesus' teachings in our hearts, helps us to integrate them, makes them part of us, flesh of our flesh.  At the same time, the Spirit prepares our hearts so that we will be truly able to receive the Lord's word and his example. Every time that Jesus' words are welcomed with joy in our hearts, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray the Regina Caeli together now - for the last time this year - invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary.  May she obtain for us the grace of being convincingly animated by the Holy Spirit, so that we can bear witness to Christ with gospel freshness and open ourselves even more to the fullness of his love.

Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, in the very appropriate context of Pentecost, my Message for the next World Mission Sunday is being published.  This day is celebrated every year in the month of October.  May the Holy Spirit strengthen all missionaries and sustain the mission of the Church all over the world.  May the Holy Spirit give us strong, committed young people - boys and girls - who desire to go out and to proclaim the gospel.  Let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace today.

I greet all of you, families, parish groups, associations, pilgrims from Italy and from many other parts of the world, in particular from Madrid, from Prague and from Thailand; as well as members of the Korean Catholic community in London.

I greet the faithful from Casalbuttano, Cortona, Terni, Ragusa; the youth from Romagnano di Massa; and the Sacra Corale Jonica from the Province of Taranto.

I especially greet those who are participating in the Festival of Peoples, which is marking its 25th anniversary.  The gathering is taking place in the square outside Saint John Lateran.  May this festival, a sign of unity and the diversity of cultures, help us to understand that the journey toward peace is a matter of creating unity and of respecting diversity.

A special thought is offered to the Alpini, assembled at Asti for the National Gathering.  I encourage them to be witnesses of mercy and of hope, imitating the example of Blessed Father Carlo Gnocchi, of Blessed Brother Luigi Bordino and of the venerable Teresio Olivelli, who honoured the Alpini Corps with the holiness of their lives.

And I wish you all a good feast of Pentecost.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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