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Greetings to pilgrims from different countries: the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a day of special communion with the Successor of Peter and with the Holy See, 22.02.2017

After the catechesis of today’s general audience, in his greetings to pilgrims from various countries, the Pope mentioned among French speakers the laypeople of Le Mans with their bishop, Yves Le Saux, altar boys from Metz, accompanied by Bishop Jean-Christophe Legleize, and the parish groups and young people from France and Canada. Among the English speakers he greeted those from England, Ireland, Norway, India and the United States of America.

“In this year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, let us entrust ourselves to Mary, Mother of hope, who invites us to look towards salvation, towards a new world and a new humanity”.

He also cordially greeted Portuguese-speaking faithful, expressing his hope that their visit to the Chair of St. Peter fill their hearts with “great courage to embrace your cross day after day, and a lively yearning for holiness, so that you may fill with hope the cross of others”. The Pope also addressed faithful from Spain and Latin America, and among Arabic speakers, those from the Middle East.

Among Italian pilgrims, he welcomed the deacons from the archdiocese of Milan and the Society of Mary, as well as the Benedictine delegation of the “Torch of Peace”, accompanied by Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia, the abbot of Montecassino Dom Donato Ogliari, and the abbot of Subiaco, Dom Mauro Meacci. The Pope invited them all to promote the culture of peace in all walks of life.

He went on to greet the Archfraternity of Piedimont Matese, with Bishop Valentino di Cerbo of Alife-Caiazzo, the participants in the demonstration against bullying in schools with Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina, and the members of the Sophia Naval Operation, which works to prevent human tragedies in the Meditteranean. He extended his greetings to the “Giuseppe Toniolo” cooperative credit bank of Genzano di Roma, the “La Stanza Accanto” Association and the artists of the Rony Rollers Circus, whom he thanked for the show they performed for the audience. “They create beauty”, he affirmed, “and beauty leads to God. It is a way of reaching God. Continue to create beauty. Carry on, as it is good for us all. Thank you”.

“I address a special thought to the young, the sick, and newly-weds”, he concluded. “Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, a day of special communion between believers and the Successor of Peter and the Holy See. Dear young people, I encourage you to intensify your prayer for my Petrine ministry; dear sick people, thank you for the witness of life that you give in suffering for the edification of the ecclesial community; and you, dear newly-weds, build your family in the same love that unites the Lord Jesus to His Church”.