As it has become customary, 3 years from the establishment of the World Day of the Poor called for by Pope Francis to mark the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope joined poor people and volunteers in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for lunch on Sunday.
After celebrating Mass for the poor in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he described them as “the treasure of the Church” and told believers “the poor facilitate our access to heaven”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer and noted the statistics regarding poverty and society’s painful indifference.
He then joined some 1,500 poor people and about 50 volunteers in the nearby Paul VI Hall for a lunch composed of lasagna, chicken with mushrooms and potatoes, dessert, fruit and espresso coffee.
Before the simple meal was served in the beautifully decked-out hall, the Pope thanked all those present and asked God to bless them and their families.
Dear Young Friends,
I know that this evening you are keeping a vigil of prayer, you are praying. And I know that others are still on their way, journeying here. How beautiful these two things are: to pray and to journey!
There are two things that we have to do in life. We have to keep our hearts open to God, since we receive our strength from him, and we have to keep journeying, because in life one can never stand still. A young person cannot retire at the age of twenty! He or she must keep walking. He or she must always keep moving forward, always going uphill.
One of you can say to me: “Yes, Father, but sometimes I am weak and I fall”. That doesn’t make any difference! There is an old Alpine song that says: “In the art of climbing, the important thing is not to keep from falling, but never to remain down on the ground”.
I offer you these two pieces of advice. Never stay down, immediately get up; let someone help you to get up. That’s the first thing. The second thing is: Don’t spend your life sitting on a couch! Live your life, build your life, do it, keep moving forward! Keep advancing on the journey, get involved and you find extraordinary happiness. I can assure of you of that.
May God bless you. I am praying for you; please pray for me.
One of the most ancient churches of Venice, a Byzantine basilica established in the year 639, counts among the 60 churches damaged in three exceptional floods last week, officials said Tuesday.
The ancient Santa Maria Assunta Basilica, and the adjacent Santa Maria Fosca church, were “abundantly flooded” three times last week, with the lagoon salt water seeping into mosaic floors and the marble columns, said Alessandro Polet, spokesman for the Venice Patriarchy said.
The basilica and its mosaic floors have been cleaned with fresh water, but the extent of the damage will take time to assess. “Damage from salt water you only see after time,’’ Polet said.
Because the salt water penetrates the building materials, damage is often much higher and deeper than the actual water levels. Due to its position in the lagoon, the water took longer to recede than from the historic center of Venice.