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Greetings to pilgrims and faithful, 01.02.2017

Following the catechesis of today’s general audience, the Holy Father greeted faithful and pilgrims from different countries, present in the square.

He urged French-speaking pilgrims, especially the young, to “ask the Lord to strengthen our hope in resurrection so as to be able to learn to live in the sure expectation of the encounter with Him and all those dear to us”. He went on to greet English speakers, in particular from Korea and the United States of America, thanking the choirs for their “praise of God in song”, and German-speaking pilgrims, especially the students of the Deutsche Internationale Schule of Dubai. “May the risen Lord give us the sure hope of being able always to be with Him, because Jesus is the life and the way of the Father”, he added. To Spanish speakers from Spain and Latin America, he expressed his hope that “the loving presence of Mary, Mother of God”, accompany us on this journey. In his special greetings to Portuguese pilgrims, especially students from Portugal, adding, “May our faith in the Resurrection drive us to look towards the future, strengthened by hope in Christ’s victory over sin and death”.

He warmly welcomed Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East. “Dear brothers and sisters, Christian hope is a humble and strong virtue that supports us and enables us not to be submerged by the many difficulties of life: it is a source of joy and gives peace to our heart. Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope!”.

In view of World Day of Consecrated Life, to be held tomorrow, he urged Polish pilgrims to remember in prayer the priests, religious sisters and brothers of the apostolic and contemplative Religious Institutes. “May their life dedicated to the Lord, and their charismatic service, bear abundant fruits for the good of the faithful and for the evangelising mission of the Church”.

The Pope also gave a cordial welcome to the delegation from the World Catholic Movement for Climate, thanking them for their commitment to caring for our common home in these times of grave socio-environmental crisis, encouraging them to continue to “weave networks so that the local churches may respond with determination to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.

Among the Italian speakers present, he greeted the participants in the conference of the Marian Priestly League organised by the Silent Workers of the Cross and the guests of the St. Lucia Foundation, urging perseverance in prayer, an “effective remedy in sickness and in suffering”. He also welcomed the Financial Police of Parma and members of the Centre of Spirituality of Mercy, accompanied by the bishop of Piazza Armerina, Msgr. Rosario Gisana, who brought with them an icon of the Mother of Mercy which will be displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica. He invited them to continue to perform works of mercy, so that they become habitual virtues in daily life.

Francis concluded by addressing the young, the sick and newly-weds. “Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and World Day of Consecrated Life. I entrust to your prayers those who are called to profess evangelical counsel, so that their witness of life may radiate to the world the love of Christ and the grace of the Gospel”.