The following is the text of the video message of greetings and thanks sent by the Holy Father Francis to the people of Bulgaria for his upcoming Apostolic Trip, which will take place from 5 to 7 May, upon invitation by the highest authorities of the country:
Dear sisters and brothers of Bulgaria!
With God’s help, in a few day’s time I will be with you. To come to Bulgaria will be for me and for my collaborators a pilgrimage marked by faith, unity and peace.
Indeed, your land is the homeland of witnesses of the faith ever since the times in which the brother Saints Cyril and Methodius sowed the Gospel there: a fruitful seed, that has borne abundant fruits also in the difficult times of the last century. This was repeated often by Saint John Paul II, who made great efforts to enable Europe to rediscover the liberating force of Christ; and also that she might begin to breathe again with both lungs. Following in his footsteps, I will have the joy of meeting with His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Bulgarian Church. Together we will demonstrate the will to follow the Lord Jesus on the path of fraternal community among all Christians.
Dearest friends, my pilgrimage will be entirely in the memory of Saint Pope John XXIII, who in the almost ten years he spent in Sofia as apostolic delegate created with your people a bond of esteem and affection that lasts to this day. He was a man of faith, of communion and of peace. For this reason I chose as the motto for this Trip the title of his historic Encyclical “Pacem in terries – Mir na zemyata”. I ask you, please to accompany me with your prayer. Thank you!
May God grant peace and prosperity to Bulgaria!