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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Video message for the concert

At 8:40pm last night, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, there was a benefit concert held.  This event, which was entitled Avrai was part of the Bicentenary of the Vatican Police Force and was organized by Maestro Claudio Baglioni to help two important projects: a paediatric hospital in Bangui (Central African Republic), and victims of the earthquakes that struck Central Italy.

Video Message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
addressed to those attending the Avrai benefit concert

I am very pleased about this initiative, organized by the Police Force, which has gathered many institutions and people, each with your own speciality: artists, craftsmen, technicians, workers ... All of you are artisans of mercy for, as I have said on other occasions, works of mercy which find their inspiration in God and the the matter of mercy itself, are modelled by hands and hearts of men and women.

At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee, in the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, I recalled how the culture of mercy takes shape in fervent prayer and how, to overcome the temptations of words, of a theoretical understanding of mercy, we need to transform mercy into everyday life, life that becomes participation and sharing.

Therefore, this evening, the horizons of the Jubilee of Mercy are being enlarged by your participating in and sharing in the concrete situations of poverty and of need: Bangui (the capital of the Central African Republic) and the earthquake ravaged lands in central Italy.  This evening, all of you are participating concretely and generously in the construction of two projects destined toward the weak and the fragile, children, projects that will be visible signs of the year of mercy and which will bear many of your names.

At times, someone will ask me: But You, Father, you are always speaking about the poor and about mercy.  Yes - I say - but it is not a sickness.  It is simply one way with which God reveals himself.  In fact, Christmas, which is now very near, recalls the way in which God entered into our world: born of the Virgin Mary like all children, wrapped in swaddling cloths, she held him in her arms, she nursed him.  Not only this, he, his mother and Joseph had to contend with the fact that there was no room for them in the inn.

And then: the good news, the proclamation of the birth was not given to a king or a prince, but to shepherds, humble men who were considered to be outcasts, you might say.  This is our God: not entirely other, but rather definitively close to us.  This is the reason why becoming artisans of charity and builders of mercy is like investing not in the stock market, but in paradise, in life that is blessed from heaven, in the love of the Father.

Thank you all.  Thank you in the name of the children of Bangui and those from the earthquake zones.  We cannot do great things, great plans, but what we do will bear the signature of our passion for the gospel.

Merry Christmas to all of you!
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