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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas greetings to the staff

At noon today (in Rome), in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father, Pope Francis met with the employees of the Holy See and those of the Vatican City State, along with their families to exchange Christmas greetings.


Speech of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the exchange of Christmas greetings
with employees of the Holy See and
the Vatican City State

Dear brothers and sisters,

We meet for this beautiful family moment, to exchange Christmas greetings.  This is a moment that I welcome, for it is an occasion for us to meet all together, including the members of your families, your husbands and wives, your parents, who are often grandparents ...

First of all, along with you, I want to thank the Lord for all his gifts, because it is true that during these days, we think about Christmas gifts, but in truth He is the one who gives the true gift, our Father, who gives us Jesus.  Our gifts, this beautiful tradition of exchanging gifts, should express precisely that: a reflection of the unique gift that is his Son made man and born of the Virgin Mary.

Today, we want to thank God first of all for the gift of work.  Work is very important both for the person himself who works, and for his family.  While we thank him, we also pray for people and for their families, in Italy and throughout the world, who do not have work, or, many times, work in undignified situations, badly paid, in conditions that are harmful to their health ... We should always thank God for work.  And we should commit ourselves, each with our own responsibilities, to creating a world that is worthy, respectful of people and of families, a just world.  Here in the Vatican, we have even more reasons to do this, we have the gospel, and we should follow the directives of the Social Doctrine of the Church.  Here in the Vatican, I don't want any work that is not in line with these directives: no black market labour, no subterfuge.

Therefore, we thank the Lord.  But, for me, today I want to thank you for your work.  I thank each and every one of you, for the commitment that you demonstrate every day to doing your work and to doing it well, even when (at times) you are not feeling well, or you are preoccupied with family concerns ... One of the beautiful things about the Vatican is that, since we are a small group, it is possible to perceive the whole, with various tasks that make up the whole, and each one is important.  The various work areas are close by and connected to one another, we all know each other, more or less; and we feel the satisfaction of seeing a certain order, that things are functioning well, with all the limitations, naturally, we can always improve and we should, but it is good to hear that every section is doing its part and together we function well for the good of all.  Here, this is easier, because we are small, but this is no reason to detract from commitment and personal merit, and therefore I feel the need to thank you all.

This year that we have lived together was a special year: the Holy Year of Mercy.  We too have lived it, together, our Jubilee, do you remember it?  The first part here, in this Hall, and then we went together to the courtyard, to the Holy Door.  This year, the Lord has poured out his mercy upon us.  And does all this grace end with the Jubilee?  No!  This grace is within us, because we help it to bear fruit in our lives every day, either in our families or at work, everywhere.  Christmas reminds us: The grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all men and teaching us ... to live in this world with sobriety, justice and piety (Titus 2:11-12), says the apostle Paul.  The grace of God has appeared in Jesus, He is Love, the Love of God incarnate, through the work of the Holy Spirit.  This same Spirit, we have all received in Baptism and Confirmation; but we must call upon the Spirit every day, we must reawaken the action of the Spirit in us, to live in this world - even in the little world of the Vatican - with sobriety, justice and piety.

Dear brothers and sisters, while I thank you, I ask you also to convey my special greetings to your children and to the elderly members of your families.  They are so very important, each one for the others.  My greetings are also accompanied by my prayers for those who are sick.

My wish for all of you is: that your hearts be filled with mercy, filled with the grace of the Jubilee that Jesus comes to re-ignite in us.

May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady protect you.

And, standing before the manger scene, remember to pray for me.  Thank you.

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